The Russian Free State (officially called "The Russian Free State of North America", and also referred to as "Russian America" or "White Russia") is a nation led by people of the Russian ethnicity located on a peninsula in the far north west of North America. The nation has an area of around 1.7 million sq kilometers, and has a population of a little over one million people. Somewhat less than a million of those people are full citizens, with an additional population consisting of temporary workers, mostly from the Unites States, Canada or the mainland of Russia. The size and small population of the Russian Free State are something that is hard for Americans and even Canadians to understand. Although the nation is one-fifth the size of the United States, it has a population roughly equal to Rhode Island. The politics and society there are also somewhat hard to understand. Although it is in many ways much like the US or Canada, and its economy, based on oil, is very modernized, the politics and society there are much more fragmented, and sometimes violent, than what Americans are used to.
The Russians had settled in North America for a long time, with some outposts going down as far south as Sebastopol. However, by the mid-19th century, only a few trading outposts on North America's far northwestward peninsula remained. The United States, perhaps guided by the Monroe Doctrine, even sought to buy the area from Russia in the aftermath of the Civil War, but nothing came of it. The Czars had their own business to attend to, and left the area in mostly benign neglect, although there was a constant trickle of immigrants coming into the area, at first mostly for purposes of fishing. This fishing brought about a few small conflicts with both the United States and Canada, with Russian coastal patrol vessels occasionally chasing off fishing fleets coming out of Canada or the US. The problems over fishing were small compared to the problems when a more lucrative resource was discovered: gold. The Gold Rush of 1900 (and subsequent minipeaks) signified that the new century would bring changes. The gold rush was mostly over the border in Canada, but the route there, (and some of the smaller findings) were in Russian territory. This piqued the interest of the Czarist government, and they tried to get a firmer grip on their holding, although the long distance from the capital and the quick money involved meant that much of the wealth was skimmed off before it reached the central government. Along with bringing more English speaking settlers into the area, this also led to a series of political scandals.
All of this was to be a rather minor matter when the First World War and Russian Revolution occurred. The Russian population in North America had never been very close to the Czars, but they were not about to sign up with the Marxist revolutionaries that came to power. The United States, after trying to support the White Russian forces in the Civil War, offered them the chance to immigrate to North America. The Russians in North America had traditionally been antipathetic to their southern neighbor, but they deemed it better to be a semi-client state of the United States than to be conquered by Communists. As far as the communists on the mainland, they were very unhappy about losing part of their territory to imperialists, but they had problems of their own, and couldn't invade while the United States Navy was guarding the shores of North America. Of course, there was other problems to be settled: the White Russians and the North American Russians had different political agendas, as well as customs. However, the larger enemy united them. When Fascism arose across Europe, some of the White Russians founded Phalangist parties, with the most dominant one of these still continuing as a force in Russian Free State politics to the current date. When World War II started, and Hitler invaded Russia in the summer of 1943, the leaders of the Free State put aside their far right leanings and joined the United States in their war effort. This was a somewhat complicated situation: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was still nominally at war with the Free State, but was happy to receive the war aid passing through from it. However, the military forces raised by the Free State did not directly aid communist Russia, instead fighting (with great distinction) against Japan in the Pacific Theater. The war again changed the society, as US and Canadian servicemen and civilian workers poured into the peninsula. By this time, Russian and English were already co-official languages, and the Free State became more Americanized in the second world war.
After the war ended, and the Cold War begin, the Free State was an important ally. It was probably due to this that the US looked the other way at the corruption and autocracy of the Free State government, which was still dominated by the quasi-Phlangist old guard. Over the next few decades, as the rest of western society went through social change, the Russian Free State seemed to lag behind, with sometimes bitter disputes with English speakers, Native Americans and the younger generation (some of whom were generations away from the old country, and idealized the United States) causing a string of controversies from the 1960s through the 1980s. Also, as the areas oil and gas industries developed, more workers moved into the area, mostly from North America, but some from as far away as the Philippines and Mexico. The largest political change was, of course, the break-up of the former USSR in 1995, which took away one of the most important raison d' etre for the Free State's existence. After a brief euphoria, most members of the Russian Free State realized that they did not wish to rejoin "the mainland", and opted to stay a separate nation. However, many immigrants and refugees, and even more temporary workers and visitors, have moved into the Free State.
As we enter the 21st century, the Russian Free State is trying to find a new vision. There is still an old guard, heavily supported by money from natural resources, and still clinging to the "old ways". However, with the newer generation mostly identifying with the United States, and with many American and Canadian citizens holding socially important positions, it is hard to say what the social or political future of the state will be. Some have suggested becoming the 11th province of Canada or the 50th state of America, while others suggest reuniting with Russia, and some Native Americans wish to return part of the country to an autonomous nation for themselves. All of these ideas have been debated, but no idea about the political or social future of the Russian Free State seems final for now.