|Government type||Absolute monarchy|
|Ruling party||Slavophile (conservative)|
|Capital||St Petersburg (ID 994)|
|Tech school||Avantgarde Intelligentsia|
The Russian Empire is already one of the most powerful nation at the start of the game. With its enormous land mass in both Europe and Asia, great manpower base and large number of states, Russia can be driven by a good player to the #1 spot in rankings without too much effort. It is considered a great choice as a starting country for a first time player, because one can do a lot of things wrong and still pull it off.
Russia starts off with Slavophile (Protectionism, Interventionist) as the government party. The other choices include Westerniser (Laisez Faire, Free trade) and Panslavic (Protectionist, State Capitalism).
The nation's industry will go nowhere at the start, as Russia lacks literacy to promote craftsmen, and its factory techs are backward. When Russia does industrialize, it is best to switch to Panslavic, and manually build factories in each state, making sure to build them in states where they get production bonuses. Russian industry sprouts very quickly, provided it has the right factory techs, literacy, and resources. Building industry earlier than 1860 will result in a lot of inefficient, empty factories. Aim for big industrial expansion in 1870-1880.
Russia will not have much liberal support for decades, so there will not be possilibity to any political or social reforms for a long time.
Tax and Fiscal Issues
Russia have quite some fiscal issues considering the big investments needed and the size of the country. Keeping both education and administration spending at the maximum will help with literacy and administrative inefficiency issues. Russia's literacy is frankly awful, and if not fixed, will result in technological backwardness. It is probably best to place Russia's two National Foci on clergymen in its two largest states Kiev and Moscow.
It is best to encourage Capitalists, Clergy, Clerks and Bureaucrats. One can do so with National Focus and giving tax cuts to middle and upper class. The tax rates for lower class can however be kept high to finance the big investments needed in education and bureacracy. One can leave leave them with only enough money to eat so that they have enough strength to keep working and breed.
Military - As Russia has a large population, one can field more troops than even the strongest neighbours (except the United Kingdom). It does not even require that big of an investment to do so, so it might be a place to spare some ducats.
Tariffs. Russia's tariff efficiency is lousy to start with (due to poor admin efficiency). High tariffs will also result in inefficient factories, but that will not be a problem until one actually have a industry to speak of. One can increase the tariff as needed considering that it will hurt the industry.
Navy. Russia has a large starting navy, but it does not have much need for one, at least early on. The biggest threats will invade over land. It can be disbanded with a great saving in cash, or at least one can stop buying clippers and steamers in order to safe money. It might be wise to keep a navy large enough to beat Denmark or Prussia and to get colonization points.
The academia start with an "Avantgarde Intelligentsia" administration. In simple English, Cultural techs have a 5% bonus along with a 5% penalty on industry and 25% penalty on navy techs. Cultural techs is arguably the most lacking in Russia at the start of the game. The techs which raise research points, literacy, national focus and plurality. Early on, Russia needs only stray from the culture techs if it really needs a military tech due to some expected war in Europe or if it needs additional output from farming or mining.
Arguably the Russia's biggest issue is it's Literacy rating. It is both important in order to keep up in tech with Prussia and the other European states and to make the population promote to workers and capitalists.
Maximum education spending is also encouraged to build up the research level. This, along with giving priority to technologies that increase research and education, helps Russia achieve a respectable research rating in the long run.
Ideological Thought is a good choice for Russia's first tech, to boost plurality and give another national focus. Otherwise if financial problems persists, Freedom of Trade or Practical Steam Engine will benefit a lot of POPS and permit Russia extra income. Medicine, Positivism, Functionalism, State and Government are also excellent early techs for Russia.
Diplomacy, Threats and Targets
When considering which nations to sphere and ally there is a few things to consider. Russia has, due to its lackluster tech, not as many influence points as one could hope for. Prioritizing is therefore important.
- Manchuria. Russia have two events Ruler of the East and Peking Convention, which gives cores and later annexes Outer Manchuria. The only thing needed is to sphere Manchuria. It is advised to sphere Manchuria as the first target.
- Sweden. Sweden does already have a friendly opinion of Russia, which makes it quite easy to sphere. It does however have cores in Russian Finland. They prevent any sort of military alliance until Sweden takes abandon Finland. They tend to do so every other game.
- Korea. Lots of coal, a large population and a decent ally. One does not have much competition with this one, and Russia even borders Korea after Outer Manchuria is annexed.
- Persia. Like Sweden Persia does also have a friendly opinion of Russia and can easily be sphered. One can however also consider to annex parts of it instead.
- Central Asian nations. Khiva, Kokand and Bukkhara is not worth a lot, but they are easily sphered, and one will not have competition when they are once sphered.
Threats and rivals
There is two natural rivals of Russia. Austria and Prussia/NGF/ Germany. Luckily they are also each others mortal enemies. The worst thing that could happen to Russia is the formation Greater Germany. Other rivals could be UK if they decide that Asia is their main area of expansion. Otherwise a unlikely strong China or Japan can also be dangerous.
In order to gain an ally against those nations there is a few choices that seem natural. France is the obvious one. They too have a conflict with the German nations over Alsass-Lorraine, an ongoing rivalry with UK and are eager to get an alliance with Russia. Ottoman Empire, Scandinavian states or Italy might also be good choices.
Targets of conquest
There is a lot of nations, that Russia can attack to strengthen its position.
- Tabriz region in Persia, if one decides not to sphere it can easily help the Russian economy and is easily achievable with even a fraction of the army.
- Korea is too easy to conquer, but they might create problems with Crisis' later in the game.
- East and West Galicia in Austria contains the accepted Ukranian pop's and it does also weaken one of the biggest contenders. It will most likely also contain quite a bit of industry. One should however consider that weakening Austria too much will strenghen Prussia/NGF in the long run, and might come back to bite Russia later.
- China. It is insanely profitable to attack China, and one will not ever need soldiers again. They might be hard to beat early on, but later in the game one should easily have eclipsed them considering improvements military tech vs. an Unciv
- Japan. Japan can potentially grow very powerful, so one might consider hitting them early on to beat them down. Every japanese state is rich, and will boost the economy as well. One might though have a problem with Rebels.
- Prussian Poland. It has a lot of advantages to take parts of Prussia. It prevents them from forming Germany without a Crown from the gutter, it weakens a mortal enemy and they have a good amount of industry. It is however the hardest of the mentioned potential targets and one might choose to wait a little.
Russia starts with a big fleet and a potential enormous fleet. It can take part in any place in the world, and does not need to choose where to prioitize because it will never realistically run out of colonial points. It does however have a bad literacy but with investment in education and the right prioritizing it is possible. One does however need to give up on other research in order to be ready in 1870.
One is perfectly able to take part in the Scramble of Africa. It does however need a foothold in Africa.
South East Asia
Siberia, Central Asia and Alaska
There is even land to colonize right in the back garden of Russia. Right from day 1, Russia can colonize a province North of Japan, and there is another one right next to it that has 20 liferating. Other than those two there is uncolonized regions in nothern Siberia, Central Asia and Alaska (if one does not decide to sell it to USA). There is no competitors in these regions except UK in Alaska, so it is advised to wait and colonize other places before returning to Siberia, Central Asia and Alaska.
Until Russia gets her literacy up, she will not have craftsmen; if she builds factories, they will be empty and inefficient. It is therefore advised to stay away from Laisez Faire in the early game. Most of Russia's factories will be closed by the capitalists due to the lack of clerks for a long time.
As the before mentioned technology struggle is resulting in slow research for those vital industry related techs and no clerks in the early game, Russia has to be a bit more careful with factory placement to have profitable factories. So, ensure that one have vertical integration between the states/factories as much as possible. e.g. timber/lumber/clipper shipyard or iron/steel/steamers or grain/glass/liquor.
It is advised to start off with a cement factory in the high population states (Moscow, Kursk, Kiev etc.). Cheap to build, makes a profit. Progressively build steel mills and lumber mills in the states where one can and build fabric where Russia has cotton, liquor where there is grain etc. Then build additional related industry according to the natural advantages - e.g. glass factory where one have a liquor factory, regular/Luxury clothes where one have built a fabric factory, etc.
One ought to end up rolling in money and lacking places to actually invest them, so keep going through and expanding all of those factories.