The history of Lostisland, history of a game turned into an international organization, started on 2 July 2008 when a Russian schoolgirl made hir first try in roleplay games and created lostisland.clan.su – a text (forum) roleplay game about an expedition to aremote and mysterious island in an ocean. Who could ever imagine what would it turn into? Certainly, not even the administration, as less than half-a-year after foundation it abandoned the site.
The history of Lostisland could easily end before even starting – but by a pure coincidence, when randomly lurking through the Internet a Russian violinist Yaroslav Mar, who ages later will become President of the Federal Republic of Lostisland, found a link to the game in user’s signature on a forum which he never visited before and hardly ever visited afterwards. The link in the signature was deleted several days after, but not until Yaroslav Mar had clicked on it and contrary to his principles, applied for moderator’s position. When in three months the administration abandoned the game, it was him who managed to got in touch with the “mother-founder” and inherited the game together with the website.
“I was a good leader, but not such a good game admin” – would he say afterwards. Despite several Mar’s attempts to revive the game and gather the runaway players, website was still dying from inactivity and lack of interest. There was nothing easier for Lostisland than to collapse at that stage, but like every time in before and in the future, salvation came from an unexpected corner. Stepan Ignatyev, pianist and composer and Mar’s friend who received an invitation to join the game, suddenly showed such a passionate interest that inactivity problem receded. Seeing his passion, more people started actively contributing to the game, and one could say it was prospering in the days of 2009–2010.
But apparently, the fate of Lostisland was to be something much greater than a humble roleplay game. Soon the euphoria ended, and inactivity embraced Lostisland again. Thinking about how to solve this problem, Mar and Ignatyev agreed that only drastic reforms can save the moribund Lostisland. And a crazy idea of implementing the game in real life pierced their brains – the neck or nothing card was played.
THE FIRST STEPS
Having heard of such entities previously, Mar and Ignatyev decided to create what is called a new nation project – an informal association with the aim of creating country. Recognizing the impossibility of gaining independence and sovereignty, it was decided that the new Lostisland will primarily be a cultural and social, not a political project. A country, albeit without real sovereignty, but based on principles of freedom and democracy – that’s was what the then roleplay game was about to be transitioned. And the work started quickly.
On 1–4 September 2010 (days which are now celebrated in Lostisland as the anniversary of independence) the main basis of a new Lostisland was made – the Constitution, the Flag, the Coat of Arms and of course, the pride of Lostisland – the National Anthem, composed by Stepan Ignatiev especially for this purpose. The project was officially renamed into the Republic of Lostisland, with the aim of highlighting its democratic and people-oriented nature. According to the Constitution, Mar and Ignatyev became Captains Regent – equal in their power Heads of State and Government, term currently used by the co-governors of the Republic of San Marino. In the first edition, it had been envisaged that the Captains Regent serve for a live term, but later it was limited to six years after which new governors should be elected.
After having done this, a special form of “applying for citizenship” was put on the new Lostisland’s website. And people started joining the project – some because of its queerness, some for willing to experience new feelings, some just for fun. On 23 October 2010 the first Certificate of Citizenship was signed by the Captains Regent and then shipped to the recipient. The new era of Lostisland has started.
GAINING A MOMENTUM
Mar and Ignatyev founded a completely new Lostisland, but it was obvious that their work only starts. Despite several new participants joining the project, inactivity problem still remained unsolved. The creation of national symbolics was certainly not enough to develop the project, and pushing forward more activities was what the leadership had to do. With the aim of promoting the Republic of Lostisland in wider communities and making its symbolics more remarkable, several mugs with the flag and the then Coat of Arms were fabricated. Soon Lostisland entered into contacts with other similar projects, and while not all of these contacts were positive, experience gained during them was helpful for developing and strengthening the young Republic.
One important thing was still lacking though: a territory. And a rather quirky solution was found soon.
The idea of claiming an existing private land plot was soon swept away due to its separatist appearance. Finding an unclaimed land plot and declaring symbolic “sovereignty” over it would be the best solution, but where to find it? As everyone knows, no unclaimed land exists in this world.
A solution was soon proposed by Dr Ilya Pakhomov, a friend of the Captains Regent, who pointed to Hunter Island – a volcanic islet in South Pacific, which due to its remoteness and lack of any resources including fresh water remains uninhabited. Having been part of the New Hebrides Condominium, it was not mentioned in the list of territories in any official documents upon the Condominium’s dissolution (though later it would become a disputed territory of France and Vanuatu), and after quick consideration it was decided to declaon 9 March 2011 the Republic of Lostisland was legally disestablished, but then re-founded on 11 March 2011 as a nation on Hunter Island. Does this mean that Lostisland “annexed” this land and undertook an imperialist expansion? The answer to this question is “no” – as it has been repeatedly stated by its leadership, Lostisland was, is, and will always remain a cultural and social project, not a political experiment or movement. The symbolical territorial “claims” of Lostisland shall be therefore considered as part of cultural heritage, and by no means as an attempt to secede from any existing country, nor as an attempt at contesting the territorial claims of France or Vanuatu which is a dispute we have no intentions of taking sides in.
Back in 2011, the Moscow-based founders of Lostisland couldn’t expect that in a little over a year the Lostislandic flag would be flying just one mile from Hunter Island. But as anyone familiar with the Lostislandic history could tell you, Lostisland isn’t particularly rife with meeting one’s expectations.
Lostisland asserted symbolical claims over a remote Pacific islet, but nonetheless when looking back at 2011 this year is usually seen as period of slowdown or even stagnation. Surely Lostisland was continuing herdevelopment, and in May 2011 the first Lostislandic movie, albeit an amateur one – Fahrenheit 451, based on the eponymous novel of Ray Bradbery – was presented. Having Yaroslav Mar, the then Captain Regent, and Melany Mikheeva at starring roles, this amateur movie certainly laid the groundwork of Lostisland’s cultural development for many further months.
At the same time the 2011 was also marked by a series of conflicts and scandals, slowing the progress and corrupting the very nature of Lostisland. Still a fairly young organization, Lostisland at this time suffered greatly from mismanagement due to inexperience, which almost resulted in a split up of the group. The internal conflict was fortunately solved within days, yet it gave serious food for thought for the then Captains Regent who very soon would have to decide whether the project is worth continuing or not. By reading this page you may guess already the decision was positive, yet back in the 2011 this wasn’t so obvious at all.
What caused another crisis in the short, but so intense history of Lostisland? Not enough attention paid to internal development, lack of resources, little experience of the leadership – perhaps all of them contributed, but in December 2011 a phone conversation between Yaroslav Mar and Stepan Ignatiev cleared what already became obvious – Lostisland is in a need of revival. Inactivity, this bane of Lostisland, was approaching again. Lack of real-life presense, result of the Internet-based policy, was not allowing to develop the project properly. A decision to consolidate the forces and get Lostisland out of the swamp was soon reached, and work began quickly.
Starting from very basics, the national symbols, the Lostislandic infrastructure was very old-fashioned and unattractive. The previously used Coat of Arms, developed in an online generator, was certainly a non-option for the successful growth and development of Lostisland. Having realized this, an open tender for the right of designing a new Coat of Arms was held on free-lance.ru, Russia’s biggest webplatform for freelancers. In a competition of over twenty designers from Russia and the Commonwealth, the order was entrusted to Max Nazarenko, a Ukranian designer from Odessa, who soon presented the new Coat of Arms of the Republic of Lostisland, which depicts a white pigeon, symbol of peace, soaring in front of Hunter Island with an olive branch in his beak. This design would be in use until the 2015, when a new Coat of Arms was developed by Prime Minister Denis Tezdzhan.
Shortly after that, in February 2012 has started work on design for a new website, instead of a standart template which had been previously used. The order to make a new website for the Republic of Lostisland had been entrusted to Moscow-based CucikStudiO, and was completed in March 2012. That website was in usage for over a year, until a more modern and interactive version – then one you’re visiting now – was developed, this time by Lostisland’s own forces.
Simultaneously with the renewal of infrastructure, Lostisland started actively pushing forward more real-life activities, and on 22 April 2012 in the Art Garbage restaurant in Moscow, during the birthday celebration of Yaroslav Mar, the first reunion of Lostislandians took place, on which the national flag was displayed. Although this event was attended by quite a few citizens, mainly due to the geographical dispersion of their places of residence, being first of such kind and proving the existence of Lostisland beyong the computer screen, it certainly marked a milestone in the Lostislandic history. Many more Lostislandic reunions would take place afterwards, and the Lostislandic flag present at that event would travel to many different countries; but this event still is remembered for having given the impetus for such reunions.
DREAMS COMING TRUE
The history of Lostisland would be incomplete without mentioning one of its most notable andimpressive undertakings – the Expedition to Hunter Island. In April 2012, just one day after the Reunion, a proposal to establish the Ministry of Transport was received by the Captains Regent, with the aim of providing regular transportation to and from Hunter Island. Once it was accepted, Martin Legof, a captain with over 20 years of navigational experience and the new Minister of Transport of Lostisland who developed this project, started preparing an unprecedented in its scope campaign – a vessel expedition to Hunter Island. According to the drafted plan, in early July 2012, using a yacht utilized by the Ministry of Transport, the expedition will set sail from New Zealandic harbor of Kerikeri, being expected to reach Hunter Island in six days. It was also planned to install the flag of Lostisland on Hunter Island and plant a capsule with the list of citizens in it – for that purpose in Moscow were manufactured two exceptionally resistant flags, strictly complying with the national standart, and shipped from Russia to New Zealand. The package with flags arrived to the Ministry of Transport in Kerikeri at 2 July 2012 – coincidentially, exactly four years after a Russian girl created her first roleplay game about an expedition to a mysterious island. Several hours later Sylfia, yacht commissionned the Ministry of Transport of Lostisland, set sail and started her way to Hunter Island. Day to day, in four years the Lostislandic dream came true.
As scheduled, on 11 July Sylfia has reached Hunter Island. But landing on it and doing everything as planned would apparently be a too simple and unromantic outcome –once the yacht approached the island, strong winds appeared from nowhere and made landing on the island impossible. As commanded by Captain Legof, Sylfia dropped her anchor several miles off coast the Hunter Island, and spent a night next to it. The Lostislandic flag, which made its way from Moscow to New Zealand and then to mid-ocean, was raised on board – but till nowadays, Hunter Island remains unbowed, and while the Ministry of Transport considers the possibility of arranging another expedition, the exact dates for it have not yet been set.
STAMPS & CHANGES
The expedition was a completely unexpected initiative, even by the Captains Regent themselves. But while it remained the most remarkable Lostislandic event of the 2012, it would be incorrect to assume that nothing else happened this year. And among other things, the 2012 was the year of creation of Post of Lostisland, soon renamed to Lostisland Post.
Lostisland is not an actual country, not a member of the Universal Postal Union, it can’t run a postal authority right? Yes – and no. Yes, in the sense that we can’t issue postage stamps as a proof of payment; no, because we can issue cinderella stamps, and this is exactly what Lostisland has been doing since the 2012.
In May 2012, the first postage stamp of Lostisland, depicting the then Coat of Arms, was issued. It would soon be accompanied by many other stamp series, depicting prominent historical figures, events of the Lostislandic history, etc. Most of them are still available for purchasing from the Lostisland’s online store, and traditionally a Lostislandic postage stamp is being sticked to all the outcoming correspondence of the Presidency.
The Lostislandic stamps turned out to be surprisingly popular and to date remain an important source of income for the organization. The expedition to Hunter Island, although plans to land on Hunter Island remained plans, after returning to New Zealand in November 2012 received much admiration and respect from other Lostislandic citizens. Yet, as they will soon find out, some serious changes were ahead.
On 5 February 2013 sad news shocked the Lostislandic community: Stepan Ignatyev, one of the co-founders and the incumbent Captains Regent of the Republic, had resigned. In his last speech, the permanent since the 2009 leader didn’t specify the reason for resigning, only saying that other people need the opportunity to develop their skills in Lostisland. As envisaged by the Lostislandic legislation, an acting Captain Regent – Ilya Pakhomov, who in due time pointed to the possibility of symbolically claiming Hunter Island – was appointed for a monthly term, during which an early election took place. On 5 March 2013 Denis Tezdzhan, the new Captain Regent of Lostisland who replaced Stepan Ignatiev as a result of a Lostisland-wide election, assumed the office, but this was only the beginning of the changes.
Having also been leading a similar to Lostisland new nation project, the Kingdom of Pavlov, Denis Tezdzhan proposed to merge the two projects into one. Effectively, a referendum on unification took place in both Lostisland and Pavlov, and with the majority of population supporting it, on 4 April 2013 the Federal Republic of Lostisland, successor of both projects and the newest reincarnation of Lostisland, was formed. Pavlov became the Federation of Pavlov, a subdivision of the Federal Republic later renamed to the Federation of Belastrova, but the institution of Lostislandic Captains Regent was abolished – instead of them, Yaroslav Mar and Denis Tezdzhan became President and Prime Minister respectively. With the entry of Pavlov, Lostisland implemented nobility, as all Pavlovian citizens starting from the King (who became Prince and retained the right to issue noble titles) had kept their noble titles. An aristocratic republic, based nonetheless on most the democratic principles, was formed. In May 2013, Tezdzhan resigned as Prime Minister and Irina Sopas, the then Supreme Judge, succeeded him.
The transition to a Federal Republic helped to get rid of the Captains Regent system – system which, while rather unique and, in a way, very ‘Lostislandic’, proved itself to be extremely inefficient when it comes to signing documents, as it required both leaders to sign every document. Nonetheless, the transition period resulted to be fairly traumatic, and with the exception for several new appointments, such as of the Ambassador to France (pictured with the Lostislandic flag in the city hall of Mulhouse), the next year and a half were not characterized by many activities. By the end of 2014, it became obvious that then constitution was largely artificial and failed to adequately address the needs of the organization; the Grand National Assembly, Lostisland’s legislative body, as well as a handful of political parties, created according to the constitution, resulted obsolete as well.
President Yaroslav Mar was well aware of that when appearing for his annual New Year Speech. But in addition to the usual wishes of happiness and good health to the Lostislandic citizens, this time the message was more specific: as he announced, starting from 1 January 2015, the constitution of Lostisland and all the political parties will be abolished, and he himself will become the Life President – or President for Life. President Mar announced also than an early election of Prime Minister will take place soon. The respective decree was signed right after the end of the speech.
With this move, the President wasn’t aiming at turning Lostisland into a dictatorship – had it been so, he won’t have called for the election of the Prime Minister. Rather he attempted to save Lostisland – once again – from the bane of inactivity, by cleansing obsolete and redundant elements of the Lostislandic governmental structure. And as history would show soon, he succeded in this mission.
THE MODERN TIMES
President Yaroslav Mar’s speech of 31 December 2014 marked the beginning of what could be called the modern period of the Lostislandic history.
As promised in his speech, next February was conducted the election of a Prime Minister. Irina Sopas, the incumbent PM refused to run and it saw the triumphal victory of Denis Tezdzhan, who after two years, once again became Prime Minister of the Federal Republic. Among the first of his moves in office were the development of an e-government portal for Lostisland and of a new Coat of Arms, third in Lostisland’s history which is in use till now. Very soon this symbol, retaining the classic Lostislandic Pigeon and motto In nomine libertatis (In the name of liberty) would appear, alongside the logo based off it, on numerous Lostislandic items and souvenirs.
In the meantime, Lostisland’s most serious problem – geografical scatteredness of citizens – started fading away as a number of Moscow residents applied for the Lostislandic citizenship in the beginning of 2015, with many of them later choosing to take positions of power in Lostisland. This provided for arranging in April 2015 – on the Life President’s birthday – a second reunion of Lostislandic citizens, hosted in the same restaurant (albeit with a different name) as that of 2012, but with a much larger attendance, most notably of the Supreme Judge, Minister of State Security, Minister of Health and Minister of Culture. The event also saw an unusual presentation of the New Coat of Arms made into a cake, which would later become a tradition for the Lostislandic meetings. The Lostislandic officials present at the event positively assessed the ongoing transformations and reaffirmed their commitment to work for the well-being and prosperity of Lostisland.
And after a long pause, Lostisland returned to action. The Prime Minister Denis Tezdzhan soon drafted a new Constitution of Lostisland, which was accepted later at a Universal voting and which affirmed Yaroslav Mar’s status as the Life President. The transition to a direct democracy was complete, with all the important issues being voted by all the citizens of Lostisland. A new, vibrant community of Lostislandic officials was established, a plan of actions was implemented, and a number of other events followed soon.
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 center of the Lostislandic activity, nonetheless, remained in Moscow, the Life President’s city of residence. In October 2015, the Federal Republic of Lostisland assisted in organizing anniversary celebrations for the Empire of Pavlov – a now defunct sister organization of Lostisland and a successor in dignity to the Empire of Pavlov, one of the Federal Republic’s predecessors. The gala, hosted, unsurprisingly, at the very same restaurant as all the Lostislandic events, was also one of the first occasions when the Lostislandic uniform was revealed (pictured left, the Life President in an early version of his uniform as the Field Marshal Admiral of Lostisland during his speech).
You might have noticed a slight difference between this photo and the one in the beginning of this page. The star! In late 2015, the Federal Republic commissioned two neck badges for the Order of the White Pigeon – a Lostislandic chivalric organization and also the highest, and the only national award of Lostisland, bestowed upon for extraordinary contributions to the Federal Republic. To date, no awardings with the Order took place and the only two knights are the Order’s co-Grand Masters – the Life President Yaroslav Mar and the Prime Minister Denis Tezdzhan. Who knows though, what if the next bearer of this award will be you?
Lostisland kept growing, as it does till today. In late 2016, the Life President established the Civil Guard of Lostisland – a paramilitary and a security agency dedicated to accompanying the high Lostislandic dignitaries on gala events and providing for their personal safety. Pictured on this photo from the New Year banquet Life President Yaroslav Mar, Minister of State Security Theodor Saradjev, Minister of Health Diana Asatryan and Chief of the Civil Guard Andrey Orlov are the highest dignitaries responsible for the well-being of the Lostislandic family. Family, that has been steadily growing for nearly 12 years. Family with members on every continent except Antarctica. Family which can be joined by anyone who likes our journey and wants to be a part of it.
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