Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Forgotten Lands: Zagria


Last call for your vote for Element of the Year!



Capital: Brevogrod
Population: 6,734,232 (2005 census)
Area: 38,860 km2
Independence: 1672

Economy: Zagria is an agricultural exporter, especially of grains, apples, grapes, and cheese. A coal/steel based heavy industrial sector suffers from aging and obsolete factories and facilities that are no longer sheltered from international competition. Oil fields underlying the southern plains of Svisla province provide Zagria’s most important source of foreign exchange.
Per Capita Income: US$12,030
Languages: Hungarian, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian
Literacy Rate: 98%

Zagria is an anomaly in Eastern Europe. Countries in this part of the planet tend to represent the territorial aspirations of cultural communities. The Poles have their Poland, the Slovaks their Slovakia, the Magyars their Hungary, and the half-dozen former Yugoslavs their half-dozen former Yugoslav republics. Yet within this mosaic of nation-states sits thoroughly heterogeneous Zagria. Polyglot (Hungarian, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian) and religiously inclusive (Catholic, Orthodox, Islamic, and, surprisingly, Lutheran), Zagria is easily as culturally diverse as any other similarly sized piece of land on Earth.

For all of this, many observers find Zagrian society to be disappointingly prosaic. Its many ethnic groups have neither walled themselves off into discrete enclaves nor exhibited an unusual degree of mingling or intermarriage. There is little sense of animosity or contention between the peoples of this land, yet neither is there any widespread sense of patriotism or national unity. Zagrians, as one observer has noted, “show neither unity nor division, neither any national coherence nor any tendency to devolve. Each Zagrian seemingly is simply whoever he is” (Menillini, The New Nationalism).

Lack of a strong national identity, however, does not guarantee a smooth civil order. Since 1998, Zagria has gone through prime ministers at a rate of more than one per year, with parliamentary coalitions in constant flux and no political party able to maintain a stable majority. Post-communist economic stagnation and a widespread culture of corruption and bribery have created fertile ground for a shadow oligarchy dominated by Brevogrod’s ostentatious gangster-businessmen and their well dressed thugs. To the average Zagrian of any culture, such things have long since ceased to excite much anger. “In Zagria,” wrote Brevogrod’s great novelist Gnadyy Zvori─ç, “public life is as constant as weather, and as fruitfully cursed.”

Flag: Based on the shields of the medieval dukes of Zagria, the flag is a simple black diagonal through a field of dark green.

National Anthem: “To Zagria We Pledge.”


Elaine said...

Do they export the grapes, or first produce Zagrian Zangria?

Michael5000 said...

OK, that got a dry chuckle out of me.

Elaine said...

Not a fruity laugh?

Aviatrix said...

Is this really the last one?

Michael5000 said...

Except for Zygar, of course.