The Natelysta (Noriki for "Arm of the Nation") were a party or regime that ruled Norik from 1574 to their overthrow in 1856 during the Great War. Initially a military regime that wrested control from the de jure imperial family of the Noriki Empire, they eventually abolished the empire in 1652 and evolved into an enormously powerful, centralized authoritarian state that espoused top-down nationalism in order to claim a mandate of power. For the majority of their reign, they were among the most powerful and populous states in the world, and laid the foundations for modern notions of Noriki identity and statehood even as they used increasingly brutal and oppressive tactics to maintain their power, a fact that has given them a reputation as the archetypical evil and oppressive government.
The Natelysta came to power through a power vacuum left in the wake of the collapsing Noriki Empire, which had grown decentralized and powerless in its later years; although an Emperor of Norik continued to rule in Nolytek, he controlled little more than the region of Nolyrat around the capital, with the rest of the region dominated by feuding lords. The Natelysta emerged in Nolytek as a counterpoint to all of that, emphasizing Masctist piety, national unity and strong leadership. Centralized, omnipotent and ruthlessly effective, the Natelysta were extremely successful in uniting all of the feudal states of Norik and creating a powerful and wealthy state.
Unlike all of Norik's previous leaders, the Natelysta did not rule through hereditary power but instead used a system of meritocracy to propel talented individuals through the ranks of the Natelysta party up to the ultimate office, General Chancellor of the Natelysta Party. This allowed the Natelysta to rule more effectively than older kingdoms. However, the system set in place also made the Natelysta rigid in their conservatism and unable to adapt to a changing world; as the Industrial Revolution came about in the early nineteenth century, the Natelysta, acting as a corporation, took complete control of the nation's industrial output and grew rich even as the vast majority of the nation's population remained in desperate poverty. Meanwhile, advances in agriculture and massive urbanization caused Norik's population to triple between 1750 and 1850, growing to over 180,000,000, making it by far the most populous single nation in the world. General discontent led to armed protest and rebellion as the Natelysta under General Chancellor Dane Luyic crunched down further and responded to the slightest hint of insubordination with massive cruelty. In 1845, the country erupted into a war that would last over ten years and decimate the nation's infrastructure and population, leaving millions dead and many more displaced. The Natelysta era finally ended in 1855 with the Declaration of Surrender of the Natelysta Party, which ended the war and led to the arrest and execution of more than 4,000 party members.
The word Natelysta means "arm of the nation" in Norik (natel, arm, and sta, nation). Technically it refers only to the ruling party of Norik during that time - the state was known simply as Norik or as "Great Norik" (Ayü Norik), and the head of state was legally the Ayüparavik (Great Leader) of the Noriki People as well as the General Chancellor of the Natelysta Party. However, the era is typically referred to by historians as the "Natelysta Era" and the regime during that time is often called simply the "Natelysta" or "Natelysta Norik."
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The Natelysta were not initially an ideological organization, and instead presented themselves simply as the preservers of the imperial system. However, this began to change with the uprisings of 1653, when the Natelysta, under the new leadership of Vladmory Nikolayev and influenced by intellectuals such as Danil Sazhenko and Garavy Holyav, took on an explicitly counterrevolutionary ideology. This ideology has often been described in modern political terms as on the far-right; the Natelysta propagated an idea of Noriki nationalism and tried to enforce linguistic and cultural homogeneity. They strictly enforced Masctist practice and law, and saw themselves as an ideological return to the principles of the ancient Noly Empire. They were critical of capitalism, and during the industrial revolution managed a state-run economy. They were even more critical of socialism, and explicitly banned all forms of labor organization, although underground labor organizations would be instrumental in their downfall.
The standard term that the Natelysta used for their form of government was stazha, typically translated as "State," although the term itself had a long history on the subcontinent; at the time, the Natelysta would sometimes refer to themselves in English as a Republic. This perspective was originally presented notably by Danil Sazhenko and later by Alexis Ragy. In the mid-eighteenth century, Ragy explicitly compared the Noriki form of government to that of Sednyana, and the burgeoning Lasterian republic, framing the Natelysta state as a "Noly Republic" that was fundamentally different from the democratic republics - which he felt were doomed to fail - but still a "republic" in the sense that the country was considered a public matter, rather than property of its rulers. What differentiated Norik from the other republics was that Norik structured power around maszhak ("merit" or "skill") rather than populszhak (popularity). On freedom, Ragy argued that the concept of "freedom" in the democratic states was irrelevant to Norik; "what is freedom," Ragy wrote, "to a man with no food?" The stricter structure of the Noriki state, Ragy would explain, was partially derived from the somewhat more hostile climate that the Noly people had grown up in.
Government Structure Edit
The Natelysta government had a large and powerful bureaucracy that kept it powerful, efficient, rigid and unchanging. At its head was the Supreme Leader, or the Ayüparavik, who legally was responsible for executing the ultimate authority. However, the Ayüparavik was selected and reigned in by the powerful Natelysta Committee, also called the Reva much like Norik's modern Senate. The members of the Reva held powerful, long-standing hereditary positions. Much of the power struggle within the party stemmed from the control of the seats, which increased from twelve to twenty-two seats over the course of the regime. Underneath the Reva were a number of committees that were held responsible for the everyday functioning of the state, with heads appointed by the Ayüparavik and confirmed by the Reva. In this way it functioned not unlike a modern republic, but without any of the democratic elections.
A number of wealthy families held hereditary seats on the Reva: the four non-traitor great houses of Khomogory, Öske, Pommern and Mirovich each held seats that passed down between heads of the family, as well as the descendants of Grigori Düren, the first Ayüparavik. The Grand Bishop (Ayupintarek) also had a seat, along with the high general (this was frequently also the Ayüparavek) and the Master of the Treasury, a position appointed by the former master of the treasury.