The history of Lostisland, a remarkable journey from a simple game to an international organization and a global sovereignty, began on July 2, 2008, when a Russian schoolgirl embarked on her first venture into the world of roleplay games. She created lostisland.clan.su, a text-based forum game centered around an expedition to a remote and enigmatic island in the vast ocean. Little did anyone know what this humble beginning would eventually evolve into. Even the game’s administrators, who abandoned the site less than six months after its founding, couldn’t have foreseen its future.
However, fate had other plans for Lostisland’s history. By a stroke of luck, while randomly exploring the Internet, a Russian violinist named Yaroslav Mar stumbled upon a link to the game. Yaroslav Mar, who would later become the President of the Federal Republic of Lostisland, discovered this link in a forum user’s signature, on a forum he had never visited before and would rarely visit again. Although the link disappeared from the signature a few days later, Yaroslav Mar had already clicked on it and, contrary to his usual principles, applied for a moderator’s position. When, after three months, the original administration abandoned the game, Yaroslav Mar managed to establish contact with the game’s creator and assumed responsibility for both the game and the website. This marked the beginning of a remarkable journey that would transform Lostisland into what it is today.
Mar’s friend, a pianist and composer Stepan I. who had received an invitation to join the game, suddenly exhibited such a passionate interest that the problem of inactivity began to recede. Witnessing his fervor, more people were inspired to actively contribute to the game, and one could say that Lostisland flourished during the years of 2009–2010.
However, the destiny of Lostisland was destined to be something far greater than a humble roleplay game. The euphoria of those years eventually waned, and inactivity once again cast its shadow over Lostisland. Pondering how to address this issue, the two friends came to a mutual agreement that only radical reforms could rescue the ailing Lostisland. It was then that a seemingly crazy idea struck them – the idea of bringing the game into the realm of reality. It was a bold move, akin to playing a high-stakes card in a game of chance, but it would prove to be the pivotal moment in Lostisland’s history.
THE FIRST STEPS
Having heard of similar entities before, Mar and his friend embarked on creating what is commonly known as a “new nation project” – an informal association with the ambition to establish a new country. Recognizing the practical impossibility of establishing an actual nation-state, they decided that the new Lostisland would primarily be a cultural and social endeavor, rather than a political one. It would be a nation, albeit without the trappings of real sovereignty, founded on principles of freedom and democracy – a natural evolution from the original roleplay game. And so, the work began in earnest.
From September 1st to 4th, 2010, days that are now celebrated in Lostisland as the “anniversary of independence,” the foundations of the new Lostisland were laid. These included the Constitution, the Flag, the Coat of Arms, and, notably, the pride of Lostisland – its National Anthem, composed by Stepan Ignatyev especially for this purpose. The project was officially rebranded as the “Republic of Lostisland,” emphasizing its democratic and people-oriented nature.
According to the Constitution, the two game admins assumed the roles of Captains Regent – equal in their authority as both Heads of State and Government, a term akin to the co-governors of the Republic of San Marino. Initially, the Captains Regent were envisioned to serve for life, but this was later amended to a six-year term, after which new leaders would be elected.
With these foundational elements in place, a dedicated “citizenship application” form was added to the new Lostisland website. People from various walks of life began to join the project – some drawn by its eccentricity, others seeking new experiences, and some simply for the fun of it. On October 23, 2010, the first Certificate of Citizenship was signed by the Captains Regent and subsequently sent to the recipient. This marked the commencement of a new era for Lostisland.
GAINING A MOMENTUM
Mar and his friend had successfully laid the foundations for a new Lostisland, but they were acutely aware that the real work had just begun. Despite the addition of new participants to the project, the issue of inactivity persisted. The creation of national symbols, while significant, was insufficient to propel the project forward. It became clear that the leadership needed to drive more activities and initiatives.
In an effort to raise awareness of the Republic of Lostisland in broader communities and make its symbolism more prominent, several mugs adorned with the flag and the then Coat of Arms were produced. Lostisland also began establishing contacts with other similar projects. While not all of these interactions were fruitful, the experiences gained during this period proved valuable in the development and fortification of the young Republic.
Yet, one crucial element was still missing: a physical territory. Interestingly, a rather unconventional solution was on the horizon.
The idea of claiming an existing private land plot was quickly dismissed due to its potential to be perceived as separatist. The more favorable option was to find an unclaimed land plot and declare symbolic “sovereignty” over it. However, this posed a challenge as there are no unclaimed lands in the world, as is widely known.
A solution to this predicament came from Dr. Ilya Pakhomov, a friend of the Captains Regent. Dr. Pakhomov pointed to Hunter Island, a volcanic islet in the South Pacific. Due to its remote location and lack of essential resources, including fresh water, Hunter Island remained uninhabited. Notably, it had not been listed as a territory in any official documents following the dissolution of the New Hebrides Condominium. (Although, later it would become a disputed territory between France and Vanuatu.)
After careful consideration, it was decided that the Republic of Lostisland would declare itself a nation on Hunter Island. This decision, however, was not a bid for territorial expansion or an attempt to assert traditional notions of statehood. Lostisland, from its inception, had always been a global sovereignty whose authority stemmed from the collective will and self-identification of its citizens, rather than from territorial claims.
The symbolic territorial “claims” of Lostisland are, therefore, to be regarded as part of its cultural heritage, emphasizing the unique concept of sovereignty. Lostisland’s sovereignty lies in its commitment to ideals of freedom, democracy, and cultural exchange, rather than traditional notions of territorial acquisition. It remains neutral in the territorial dispute between France and Vanuatu, as it aligns with Lostisland’s non-political, cultural, and social nature.
In 2011, the founders of Lostisland could not have foreseen that, in a little over a year, the Lostislandic flag would be flying just one mile from Hunter Island. However, as anyone familiar with Lostislandic history can attest, Lostisland has a tendency to defy conventional expectations and redefine the concept of sovereignty.
Lostisland made symbolic claims over a remote Pacific islet, but in hindsight, 2011 is often viewed as a period of deceleration, if not stagnation. However, it’s essential to recognize that Lostisland was continuously evolving during this time. In May 2011, the first Lostislandic movie, albeit an amateur production—Fahrenheit 451, based on Ray Bradbury’s novel—was presented. Starring Yaroslav Mar, the then Captain Regent, and Melany Mikheeva, this amateur film laid the foundation for Lostisland’s cultural development in the months to come.
Nonetheless, 2011 was also marked by a series of conflicts and scandals that hindered progress and tarnished Lostisland’s character. As a relatively young organization, Lostisland was grappling with challenges stemming from inexperience, which nearly led to a split within the group. Fortunately, the internal conflict was swiftly resolved within days. However, it forced the Captains Regent at the time to seriously contemplate whether the project was worth pursuing or not. In hindsight, the decision to continue may seem obvious, as you can probably guess by reading this page, but in the uncertain atmosphere of 2011, it was far from clear-cut.
What led to yet another crisis in Lostisland’s short but intense history? A combination of factors contributed to this challenging period. Notably, insufficient attention was given to internal development, resources were limited, and the leadership lacked the experience needed to navigate the evolving landscape. However, in December 2011, a crucial phone conversation between the Captains Regent brought to light what was becoming increasingly evident: Lostisland was in dire need of revitalization. The specter of inactivity, a recurring challenge for Lostisland, loomed once again. The online-centric policy, while practical, hindered the project’s growth by preventing meaningful real-life engagement. It became evident that decisive action was required to pull Lostisland out of its stagnation.
The process began with a return to basics—the national symbols. Lostisland’s existing infrastructure was outdated and unattractive. The previous Coat of Arms, created using an online generator, was ill-suited for the successful growth and development of Lostisland. Recognizing this, an open competition was held to design a new Coat of Arms. Over twenty designers from Eastern Europe participated, and the task was ultimately entrusted to Max Nazarenko, a Ukrainian designer from Odessa. He presented the new Coat of Arms of the Republic of Lostisland, featuring a white pigeon, a symbol of peace, soaring in front of Hunter Island with an olive branch in its beak. This design remained in use until 2015 when a new Coat of Arms was developed by Prime Minister Denys Tezdzhanenko.
Following this, in February 2012, work commenced on designing a new website to replace the standard template that had been used previously. A Moscow-based design studio was commissioned for this task, and the new website was completed in March 2012. This website served Lostisland for over a year until a more modern and interactive version, the one you are currently visiting, was developed by Lostisland’s own team.
Concurrently with the infrastructure updates, Lostisland began actively promoting real-life activities. On April 22, 2012, during Yaroslav Mar’s birthday celebration at the Art Garbage restaurant in Moscow, the first reunion of Lostislandians took place, with the national flag proudly on display. While this event saw modest attendance due to the geographical dispersion of citizens, it marked a significant milestone in Lostisland’s history. It demonstrated the existence of Lostisland beyond the confines of computer screens, inspiring subsequent reunions and international journeys for the Lostislandic flag. This event remains memorable for providing the impetus for future gatherings and activities.
DREAMS COMING TRUE
The history of Lostisland wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging one of its most remarkable endeavors—the Expedition to Hunter Island. In April 2012, just a day after the Reunion, a proposal to establish the Ministry of Transport was submitted to the Captains Regent, with the ambitious goal of providing regular transportation to and from Hunter Island. Once approved, Martin Legof, a captain boasting over 20 years of navigational experience and the newly appointed Minister of Transport of Lostisland, took charge of this extraordinary project.
Preparations for this unprecedented campaign—a maritime expedition to Hunter Island—commenced in earnest. The ambitious plan called for a yacht, belonging to the Ministry of Transport, to set sail from the New Zealand harbor of Kerikeri in early July 2012. The expedition was expected to reach Hunter Island in approximately six days. Their mission included installing the flag of Lostisland on Hunter Island and placing a capsule containing a list of citizens on the island. To fulfill this mission, two exceptionally durable flags, strictly adhering to national standards, were manufactured in Moscow and shipped from Russia to New Zealand.
The package containing these flags reached the Ministry of Transport in Kerikeri on July 2, 2012—an interesting coincidence, as it marked precisely four years since a Russian girl had created her first roleplay game about an expedition to a mysterious island. Several hours later, the Sylfia, the yacht commissioned by the Ministry of Transport of Lostisland, set sail, embarking on its journey to Hunter Island. Day by day, over four years, the Lostislandic dream transformed into reality.
As planned, on July 11, the Sylfia reached Hunter Island. However, the landing and completing all the planned activities turned out to be more complex and adventurous than expected. As the yacht approached the island, sudden and strong winds seemingly appeared out of nowhere, making landing on the island impossible. Captain Legof made the prudent decision to drop anchor several miles off the coast of Hunter Island, where they spent the night. The Lostislandic flag, which had traveled from Moscow to New Zealand and then to the middle of the ocean, was raised on board. Yet, to this day, Hunter Island remains unconquered—a testament to the unpredictable nature of such grand expeditions.
STAMPS & CHANGES
The Hunter Island expedition was a wholly unexpected initiative, even by the Captains Regent themselves. While it undoubtedly stood as the most remarkable Lostislandic event of 2012, it would be inaccurate to assume that nothing else occurred during that year. In 2012, the Lostisland Post, initially known as the Post of Lostisland, was established.
Lostisland, not being an actual country or a member of the Universal Postal Union, couldn’t traditionally run a postal authority. However, there was a twist. Lostisland couldn’t issue postage stamps as proof of payment, but it could issue cinderella stamps, and that’s precisely what Lostisland commenced doing in 2012.
In May 2012, the first postage stamp of Lostisland, featuring the Coat of Arms at that time, was issued. It would soon be joined by various other stamp series, showcasing prominent historical figures, events from Lostislandic history, and more. Many of these stamps are still available for purchase through the Lostisland’s online store, and it has become customary to affix a Lostislandic postage stamp to all outgoing correspondence from the Presidency.
The Lostislandic stamps proved unexpectedly popular and continue to serve as a significant source of income for the organization. The expedition to Hunter Island, despite plans to land on the island never coming to fruition, earned admiration and respect from other Lostislandic citizens upon their return to New Zealand in November 2012.
However, as they would soon discover, significant changes lay ahead. On February 5, 2013, the Lostislandic community was hit with sad news: Stepan I., one of the co-founders and the then-incumbent Captains Regent of the Republic, had resigned. In his farewell speech, the leader who had served since 2009 didn’t specify the reason for his resignation, only stating that others needed the opportunity to develop their skills within Lostisland. As per Lostislandic legislation, an acting Captain Regent, Ilya Pakhomov, was appointed for a temporary term of one month, during which an early election was conducted.
On March 5, 2013, Denys Tezdzhanenko, the newly elected Captain Regent of Lostisland who replaced Stepan, assumed office. Little did they know, this was just the beginning of a series of changes that would shape Lostisland’s future.
Having led a project similar to Lostisland called the Kingdom of Pavlov, Denys Tezdzhanenko proposed the merger of the two projects into one. Effectively, referendums on unification were held in both Lostisland and Pavlov, and with the majority of the population supporting it, the Federal Republic of Lostisland was officially formed on April 4, 2013. Pavlov became the Federation of Pavlov, a subdivision of the Federal Republic later renamed the Federation of Belastrova. In this new structure, the institution of Lostislandic Captains Regent was abolished, and Yaroslav Mar and Denys Tezdzhanenko assumed the positions of President and Prime Minister, respectively.
With the integration of Pavlov, Lostisland introduced a system of nobility. All Pavlovian citizens, starting from the King (who became the Prince and retained the right to issue noble titles), retained their noble titles. This transformed Lostisland into an aristocratic republic, albeit one still deeply rooted in democratic principles. In May 2013, Tezdzhanenko resigned as Prime Minister, and Irina Sopas, the then Supreme Judge, succeeded him in that role.
The transition to a Federal Republic allowed Lostisland to abandon the Captains Regent system, which, while unique and characteristic of Lostisland, proved to be highly inefficient due to the requirement for both leaders to sign every document. However, this transition period was somewhat traumatic, and apart from a few new appointments, such as the Ambassador to France (pictured with the Lostislandic flag in the city hall of Mulhouse), the following year and a half witnessed relatively few activities. By the end of 2014, it became evident that the existing constitution was largely artificial and insufficient to address the organization’s needs. The Grand National Assembly, Lostisland’s legislative body, and several political parties created as per the constitution had become obsolete.
President Yaroslav Mar recognized these issues in his annual New Year Speech. In addition to the customary well-wishes, he made a more specific announcement: starting from January 1, 2015, the Lostisland constitution and all political parties would be abolished, and he would become the Life President, or President for Life. President Mar also declared that an early election for Prime Minister would be held shortly, with the relevant decree signed immediately after the speech.
It’s important to note that the President’s intention was not to establish a dictatorship in Lostisland; if that were the case, there would have been no call for the election of a Prime Minister. Instead, he aimed to revitalize Lostisland by removing outdated and redundant elements from its governmental structure. As history would soon reveal, he succeeded in this endeavor.
THE MODERN TIMES
President Yaroslav Mar’s address on December 31, 2014, marked the commencement of what we may consider the contemporary era in Lostisland’s history.
As pledged in his speech, the election of a Prime Minister took place the following February. Irina Sopas, the incumbent Prime Minister, declined to run, resulting in Denys Tezdzhanenko’s triumphant return to the position of Prime Minister of the Federal Republic after a two-year absence. Among his initial actions in office were the establishment of an e-government portal for Lostisland and the creation of a new Coat of Arms, the third in Lostisland’s history, which remains in use to this day. This emblem, featuring the iconic Lostislandic Pigeon and the motto In nomine libertatis (In the name of liberty), swiftly appeared on various Lostislandic items and souvenirs, alongside a logo derived from it.
During this period, Lostisland began to address one of its most pressing issues – the geographical dispersion of its citizens. In early 2015, several residents of Moscow applied for Lostislandic citizenship, many of whom later assumed positions of responsibility within Lostisland. This development paved the way for a second reunion of Lostislandic citizens in April 2015, coinciding with the Life President’s birthday. This gathering, held at the same restaurant as the 2012 reunion but with a significantly larger attendance, included prominent officials such as the Supreme Judge, Minister of State Security, Minister of Health, and Minister of Culture. The event featured a unique presentation of the new Coat of Arms in the form of a cake, which would become a tradition for subsequent Lostislandic meetings. Officials in attendance expressed their optimism regarding the ongoing transformations and reaffirmed their dedication to advancing the well-being and prosperity of Lostisland.
Following a lengthy hiatus, Lostisland returned to action. Prime Minister Denys Tezdzhanenko drafted a new Constitution of Lostisland, which was subsequently accepted through a universal vote. This constitution solidified Yaroslav Mar’s status as the Life President and marked the completion of the transition to a direct democracy, with all significant matters subject to the vote of all Lostislandic citizens. A dynamic community of Lostislandic officials was established, a plan of action was implemented, and numerous other events and initiatives followed in quick succession.
As we’ve written above, Lostisland’s citizenry was always characterized by extreme geographical scatteredness. One one hand, this allowed Lostisland to establish a number of Embassies all around the globe; on the other though, this led to a situation where many countries had roughly 1-2 Lostislandic citizens. As a result, for years the only place of real-life communication between Lostislandians remained Russia.
This changed in July 2015, when the Minister of State Security met in Split with Lostisland’s Ambassador to Croatia Ivan Buljević. Saradjev and Buljević will conclude two more meetings afterwards, but that one went down in history as the first – though certainly not the last one – meeting of Lostislandic citizens outside Russia.
The nucleus of Lostislandic activity remained in Moscow until 2019 when President Yaroslav Mar emigrated from Russia to Israel. This decision was prompted by the fraudulent reelection of Vladimir Putin, the ongoing erosion of civil society, and Russia’s descent into authoritarianism. In October 2015, the Federal Republic of Lostisland played a role in coordinating the anniversary celebrations for the Empire of Pavlov, which was a now-defunct sister organization of Lostisland. The Empire of Pavlov was considered a successor in dignity to the Empire of Pavlov, one of the Federal Republic’s predecessors. The anniversary gala took place at the same restaurant as many Lostislandic events and marked one of the early occasions when the Lostislandic uniform was unveiled (pictured left, the Life President in an early version of his uniform as the Field Marshal Admiral of Lostisland during his speech).
You may have noticed a subtle difference between this photo and the one at the beginning of this page – the star! In late 2015, the Federal Republic commissioned three neck badges for the Order of the White Pigeon – a Lostislandic chivalric organization and the highest, as well as the sole national award of Lostisland. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon individuals for their extraordinary contributions to the Federal Republic. As of now, no awardings with the Order have taken place, and the only three knights are the Order’s co-Grand Masters – the Life President Yaroslav Mar, the former Prime Minister Denys Tezdzhanenko, and the current Emperor of allied Pavlov, Ivan VII. However, who knows? Perhaps the next recipient of this esteemed award will be you?
Lostisland’s story is a tale of constant growth and transformation, a journey that continues to unfold. It’s a story of a global family, spread across the world, united by shared ideals of freedom, democracy, and self-identification.
As we look ahead to the future, Lostisland’s narrative remains an open book, waiting for new chapters to be written by the diverse individuals who choose to join this remarkable journey. It’s a story where anyone, from any corner of the world, can become a part of our unique community.
In this ever-expanding family, Lostisland invites you to be the author of your own chapter, to contribute your own ideals, passions, and dreams to our shared story. It’s a story of unity, self-discovery, and the pursuit of a better world—a story that continues to be written, one page at a time. Will your story be the next to grace these pages?