In the previous episode I introduced you to my save idea “Totalitarian Football” and narrowed the locations of my made up nation down to two, former Yugoslavia and former Soviet Union. Now it’s time to actually place this new nation somewhere.
Geographical location – Yugoslavia or Soviet?
So, where do I actually put this new country? When comparing the maps of the two countries it quickly becomes obvious that I really only have one choice.
Former Yugoslavia was divided into several fairly small new nations. It would be awfully hard to hide away a made up totalitarian state anywhere here.
Even though the Soviet Union in a sense faced the same fate as Yugoslavia, with a division into several new nations, the remaining country of Russia still consists of a massive land mass. One could even argue that this is the perfect place to hide away a secluded Communist country!? So, the decision is made, we are going to Russia. I suppose you already knew that if you made it through the introduction, though…
Name and flag – Inspiration from Russian republics
Now that we’ve decided on a rough location, it’s time to go into more detail. Name and flag is next on the list.
I’ll use the current Russian Republics as inspiration for this step. I want a land mass completely enclosed by Russia, to further strengthen the isolation over the last decades. This leaves me with numbers 3, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18 and 21 in the west and 19 in the South. Proximity to Europe is important so
19. Six Republics remain, let’s see if any of them tickles my imagination!?
Area: 142,947 km2
Hmm, neither name nor flag makes it tingle in my tummy. That’s not the flag of an oppressive state is it? The population would place them as the 29th highest populated European country, just below Croatia but ahead of Georgia…maybe that’s a fitting population size for my nation!? The area on the other hand is far too big. It would be very hard to hide a nation of a size equivalent to Kazakhstan or Greece from the watchful eyes of the world…
Area: 416,774 km2
Pretty much the same story here. “Komi” doesn’t have that Communist ring to it and the flag is far too friendly. If it would be hard to hide Bashkortostan, it would be absolutely impossible to close the entire border of a nation of the same size as Sweden…
12. Mari El
Area: 23,375 km2
If I was creating a country to play as on Europa Universalis or Crusader Kings, then this flag would certainly have appealed to me. A sword and a shield. And a man-sized bear holding said sword! Epic flag! Now this doesn’t really ooze neither football nor totalitarian regime, so Mari El doesn’t do anything for me.
Area: 26,128 km2
This is more like it! Mordovia. Sounds like a proper dictatorship along the lines of “Borduria” and “Syldavia” from The Adventures of Tintin. The flag has a certain quality to it as well. The red emblem in the middle of the flag, apparently symbolizing the sun, really appeals to me. The population of a little more than 800,000 would make this the smallest one of all nations from the former Soviet Union. A population only slightly larger than Luxembourg is not enough for me. The area is equivalent to Albania and North Macedonia, which isn’t too bad.
Area: 67,847 km2
An ok flag and a decent name, but I don’t love it. An area of 67,000 would make it slightly bigger than the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Area: 42,061 km2
Yes. YES. YES! This is a flag that symbolises power and authority and the sun symbol return again! This flag actually even instills a bit of fear in me. The name Udmurtia is good, but it’s no Mordovia. The size is slightly bigger than the Netherlands and Switzerland and slightly smaller than Denmark. I like the size of that!
Area: 18,343 km2
This flag is not for me. The yellow is too friendly and the red “tree of life” symbol doesn’t appeal to me as much as the sun symbol above. I don’t like anything about this. Sorry Chuvashia!
Two Republics stand out. Mordovia for the name and Udmurtia for the flag. In fact, I like the Udmurtian flag so much that I’d like to pretty much just steal it! The sun symbol is a keeper and the red and black colour combination stands out.
What about name then? I can’t just simply call my nation Mordovia, but I’m after something similar. Lordovia, Cordovia, Yordovia? No, it doesn’t have the same ring to it…what if I try to merge the names of Mordovia and Udmurtia? Mordurtia? No. Udmovia? No. These names are not compatible. This just sounds silly.
“RING RING! Hello, who’s there?”
“Tintin!? I’m in the middle of something, can I call you back? What do you mean you want to help? Oh, I see. That is actually the perfect solution!”
I was looking at the wrong combination of names. Mordovia and Udmurtia didn’t mix well, but the names Borduria and Syldavia sure do. I give you…
It’s just what I was looking for! It sounds Eastern European and oozes of authority! Bordavia it is!
Flag – Oozing with authority, but maybe not too much!?
“Oh, it’s you again! What do you want now? You have an idea for a flag? Which flag? The Bordurian flag?”
“No, I don’t want a flag with a mustache on it! There’s another one? Ok, hold on”
“You beautiful man, that’s exactly what I was looking for! You sure know your branding! Thanks a lot, Tintin!”
So, what happens if I take this Bordurian flag and try to mix it with the Udmurtian flag…
gives us this!
I like this flag. I like it a lot. Sadly, there is one major issue with it. My initial reaction after I had created it was shared by several people that I showed it to.
“That looks like a Nazi flag!”
Well, it really does. That’s probably why I’m scared of it, while it represents power and authority at the same time. I do really want a flag that screams power and authority, but I could do without the Nazi references. I’d like to keep the colours and the sun symbol though. What if I invert the colours?
That’s a lot better! By inverting the colours I get to keep the colour combination and in a greater sense the feeling of power and authority that it conveys, while this one doesn’t scream “Nazi flag”! This is getting close, maybe just a few more changes? After a few more alterations, this is the flag I’m going with.
This flag actually gives me a few ideas on what sort of country Bordavia is. The black base represents coal, the most important resource in Bordavia. The red represents the blood of our fallen comrades. The white represents purity and the circular shape surrounded by black could also symbolise a mining shaft. The red sun symbol in the middle represents Communism and the fire burning within every Bordurian, man and woman, young and old! The laurel wreath represents agriculture, the second big industry in Bordavia.
So, we have a name, a flag and a location.
Size and population – A random number generator game
That leaves size and population. The size of Mordovia (26,128 km2) is the smallest I can accept and I can’t go any bigger than Tatarstan (67,847 km2). A country of the same size as Lithuania is probably possible to close against the rest of the world. North Korea is in fact twice that size! That leaves the population count. My reasoning here is closely connected to how tough I want to make this challenge. More people -> more football players -> easier to achieve greatness. That’s a bit simplified, but there’s at least a bit of truth to that. If I look at the population density of Eastern European countries, Poland has the highest density with a little more than 120 people per km2. Latvia and Estonia on the other hand have a population density of 30. These are the limits I’ll go with for population density.
To get our population size I simply put these numbers into a random number generator in Excel, pressed enter and voíla!
So, who knew that if you took a nation the size of Estonia and gave it a population density of Serbia, you’d end up with the same population as Croatia!? Astounding! Isn’t it fun to play with numbers? With the help of the random number generator we now know that our nation will be the 29th biggest in Europe when it comes to population and the 30th biggest in size. This sounds like a really decent challenge!
Location, size and population. Check! Name and flag. Check! I think it’s time to move on to the actual club I’m going to manage. See you in the next episode for that!