The Republic of Chernarus (Chernarussian: Republika Černarus, Russian: Республика Чернорусь), more commonly known as Chernarus, is an Eastern European post-Soviet republic in the Green Sea region, somewhere near the Caucasus. Chernarus is bordered by the Russian Federation to the north along the Black Mountains, Takistan to the west and the Green Sea to the south and east. The capital, Novigrad, is situated on the coast of the Burnaya river delta in the south-west of the country, a short distance from the Takistani border. The Burnaya and Svetlaya rivers form the core of modern Chernarus, giving rise to major cities such as Kirovograd and Belozersk. Other major settlements can be found along the length of the nation's coast, such as Primorsk, Miroslavl' and Chernogorsk. Several islands in the Green Sea fall under the sovereignty of Chernarus, most notably the islands of Utes, Moschnyi and Lyutyi.
Chernarus has been inhabited from at least the 5th Century, with Slavic peoples settling the area sometime around the 11th Century. Various dukedoms controlled the region until the nation was united in the 13th Century by Taras Kozub. Chernarus joined the Russian Empire in 1631, and only regained its independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. In 2009, a civil war would erupt in the predominantly ethnically Russian province of South Zagoria, instigated by the Chernarussian Movement of the Red Star who sought to unify with Russia
The game is currently set in the most north-easternmost province called South Zagoria. At present, South Zagoria is infested with mindless Infected, as well as Survivors who have to endure a lack of available food and constant threats of the infected and other Survivors. Chernarus (Чернарусь, "Black Russia") also shares its similar sounding name to the real-life country of Belarus (Беларусь, "White Russia"), a possible influence on the developer's part, as Belarus was a post-soviet state bordered next to Russia.
The earliest known inhabitants of what is now Chernarus were the Skyths, a nomadic tribe who inhabited the valleys of the Burnaya and Svetlaya rivers sometime in the 5th Century. The Skyths wouldn’t stay in the region however, as they would travel further south-west to establish the foundations of what are now Karzeghistan and Takistan, including the capital of the latter, Takmyr, on the banks of the Salak Darya.
Slavic peoples inhabited the area sometime around the 11th and 12th Centuries. The basis of modern Chernarus was established in the delta of the Burnaya River, divided from much of the Zagorie region – under the control of the Moscow Principality - by the Black Mountains. The Slavs of Chernarus shared a common enemy with their Slavic Russian cousins, in the form of raiders from the south-west; the two Slavic peoples were traditionally bound for this reason, although the Slavs of the Burnaya delta always sought to maintain their independence.
The first of several dukedoms were established in the area during the 11th and 12th Centuries, the most notable of which being the Kozlov duchy in South Zagoria, headed by Duke Ivan Kozlov. Kozlov constructed a series of castles and keeps to protect his dukedom from raids via the Green Sea and Black Mountains. Kozlov’s dynasty would collapse at the turn of the 13th century, precipitating the collapse of his fortress system; two notable ruins remain of his work – the infamous Devil's Castle and the lesser-known Rog keep. Despite the collapse of his dynasty, Duke Kozlov is considered to be an important figure in the early history of the establishment of Chernarus.
At the turn of the 13th century, the Kozub Dynasty, led by Taras Kozub, would ultimately usurp the various dukedoms of the region to successfully create a unified Chernarussian state. Around this time, Karzeghis in Zagoria staged a rebellion, led by Ataman Simurg. Despite this there would be no other major rebellions during the rule of the Kozub Dynasty, and in 1631 Chernarus would join the Russian Empire.
Chernarus continued under this arrangement until the demise of Imperial Russia in 1917, becoming a part of the Soviet Union as an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) after the Russian Revolution. Chernarussians served in the Soviet Armed Forces during the Great Patriotic War, their sacrifice evidenced by numerous prominent war memorials. The Red Army possessed a small airfield, near the town of Vybor in South Zagoria, for parachute training, which was greatly expanded post-war into a fully-fledged airbase.
During the 50s, the government of the Chernarussian ASSR rapidly industrialised the coastal areas of South Zagoria, transforming Chernogorsk, the administrative centre of the province, from a small fisherman’s village to a large regional harbour, primarily to facilitate the transport of supplies to Elektrozavodsk rather than to enhance its traditional role of linking with northern trade routes. During this period of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, rural townsfolk were uprooted and forced to live an urban life, else they be stationed at one of the vast northern kolkhozs. The price for this forced industrialisation was unchecked damage to the coastal regions, particularly to the coastal fauna and flora.
The rapid industrialisation rendered the existing power output insufficient. Many roads still consisted solely of gravel, and yearly floods constantly threatened the coastal rail network. As a result, the Chernarussian government undertook an initiative to upgrade much of the infrastructure in the province, notably constructing two large dams (Topolka Dam and Pobeda Dam) to assist with irrigation and power generation.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Republic of Chernarus gained independence for the first time in more than 300 years. The newly established Chernarussian Defence Forces assumed ownership of all military installations in the newly established republic, including Vybor Air Base and the sophisticated S.A.M. and Radar base near Grozovoy Pass. Some bases in the far north of the province were neglected due to insufficient funds and their condition quickly deteriorated. The Chernarussian government sought to make amends for the ruthless industrialisation of the scenic South Zagoria region under Soviet rule by declaring the “Zagorie Protected Natural Area”, which encompassed the near-untouched Skalisty Island.
In 2009, it suffered from a civil war that left the country in turmoil, forcing it to seek help from Allied Nations and U.S forces. The civil war was primarily caused by the Chernarussian Movement of the Red Star (ChDKZ), a communist-socialist faction that had their presence in the northeastern oblast called South Zagoria. The communist-socialist faction was also known as the "Chedaki", an abbreviation of the full name. They committed several war crimes and attempted to cover them up, with their goal being to create a socialist state within Chernarus just like during the Soviet period of Chernarus's history. Feelings of nostalgia for the Soviet Union and its superpower status under socialism led to their creation and agenda and small gained support among older generations who lived most of their life in the Soviet Union. It was not until a staged bombing in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, that led to the Chedaki's annexation of various regions of Chernarus. After the movement spread across almost all of South Zagoria and several other contested territories of Chernarus, they took the island of Utes and kicked out the CDF forces stationed there, which was only later to be liberated by the United States Marine Corps.
The Russian Federation became involved after the ChDKZ staged the bombing in Russia, killing dozens. The Russian government was fooled into thinking it was the nationalist guerrilla faction known as the National Party (NAPA) that conducted the bombing which had links to the Chernarussian government, thus leading to the presence of Russian troops in the very north of South Zagoria. They gave excessive amounts of weapons to the ChDKZ which was already against the Chernarussian government, in turn causing the civil war of 2009 where the whole region of South Zagoria collapsed into chaos and death. The AN and the US were sent into the southern parts of the oblast, securing coastal cities from the ChDKZ like Chernogorsk to liberate cities and secure any further conflict between the nations. It was only to be revealed in one of the endings of the ArmA II campaign, that a rogue government official in the Russian government sent money and support to the ChDKZ to deface and frame NAPA as the sole perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Russia, and sought to bring war between Russia and Chernarus.
Not much is known about the Infected outbreak in Chernarus, but sometime after the civil war of 2009, the inhabitants of the country became infected, likely with a disease or a similar biological affliction. It can be assumed the infection began sometime between late 2012 and late 2013 however or was at least occurring during that time due to the presence of the FNX-45 in the loot tables in-game.
In many places around Chernarus, garbage bags marked as "toxic waste" can be found, indicating some clean-up attempt was potentially made during the beginning of the outbreak.
At the same time, military troops of the Chernarussian Defence Forces, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and the Allied Nations were clearly in Chernarus. If the reason for this was the outbreak or the prior/coincidental civil war, it is not known. Regardless, the combined forces could not stop the hordes of the infected and were slowly overrun even with heavy weapons like tanks, which were destroyed or abandoned. The military tried to contain the outbreak and organized the systematic disposal of corpses (as can be seen at Kamensk Military Base).
After the outbreak, the local military and civilian defenses were overwhelmed and disintegrated. All inhabitants either fled the country, were turned into Infected, or roam the desolated area as Survivors. The lawlessness led to a rise in banditry and an overall lack of equipment and available food.
Chernarus is located somewhere in the Caucasus Mountains, with the Green Sea on its eastern and southern borders. It consists of rough terrain and even a few islands. It has a rugged yet verdant environment of rolling hills, covered by dense forests and deep valleys, hidden in forested ridges or on elevated plateaus with lush meadows. Its valleys conceal quaint rural villages connected by barely perceptible dirt tracks, while its coastlines support sprawling industrial cities with wide highways and rail networks.
This area has the typical climate of an Eastern European country. It has fairly diverse vegetation with multiple useful plants, and its wildlife consists of former domesticated species and different wild animals. For a detailed description of the different landmarks see the Landscape article.
Politics and Economy
Chernarus previously produced multiple natural resources such as wood and different mined materials, which can be seen among the various factories -- especially the lumber mill in Berezino or the quarry in Solnechny.
There are five major settlements in Chernarus:
Police and Military
Before the outbreak, Chernarus posesed its own police and defence forces. The CDF assumed ownership of all military bases in the country after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. With the Infected outbreak in South Zagoria, a littany of temporary camps were established in the region to help contain the spread of the virus.
Other Civilian Groups
Chernarus is officially a bilingual state, where the Russian and Chernarussian languages have official status. The prevalence of the Russian language receiving official status stems from the long-standing historical and cultural ties to neighboring Russia. In the North-Eastern province of South Zagoria, along the border with Russia, the dominant usage of the Russian language is due to the ethnic Russian minority being the majority in the region. The heavy usage of Russian in the northeast has historically caused skirmishes between Chernarussian nationalists and the Russian populace. As a result of this conflict, various separatist movements have sprung up, most notably the Chernarussian Movement of the Red Star, which had aimed to create an independent South Zagoria, or even full integration with the Russian Federation. Chernarus also holds a similar status to the real world post-soviet country of Belarus, where the Russian and Belarussian languages hold official status in the country. It is very likely and almost certain that the developers modeled Chernarus off of Belarus, both in terms of the name, geographic proximity to Russia, and political status.
The Chernarussian Language is a fictional West Slavic language that is exactly identical to the Czech language and was simply renamed as "Chernarussian." Chernarus is heavily based on the Czech Republic, which is the home country of the development team. Chernarussian is written in the Latin script, making it easy to distinguish it from the Cyrillic script used in the Russian language. Throughout Chernarus, many signs written in both Russian and Chernarussian can be found in Hospitals, Medical Centers, billboard advertisements, vending machines, storefronts, and so on. The Chernarussian language is less frequent compared to its Russian counterpart, making it easy for most to assume Chernarus takes place in Russia. In the School buildings found around the map, the primary language used in schools is Chernarussian, as evident on posters and information boards found within classrooms and hallways. There are also posters that indicate that there were Russian language classes within the school system.
The most prominent religion in Chernarus is the Russian branch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as identified by the multiple churches featuring traditional architectural elements seen in Russian churches. Gilded cupolas adorned with orthodox crosses, ornate iconostasis' in front of altars, and mosaics in the vaults or domes of the churches.
Chernarus is marked by its well-preserved cities and towns featuring primarily traditional styled architecture, a unique feature in its identity. Neo-classical and baroque architectural styles can be found in many cities, with row houses being a prime example. Stalinist architecture is also another form of architecture that can be seen in Chernarus, however uncommonly. The only example of Stalinist architecture is the municipal City Hall building in Novodmitrovsk, one of the tallest buildings in the game. Modernist architecture is prominent in many cities. During the Soviet era, many apartment blocks, schools, and stores were built in Brutalist and Socialist Realist architecture styles. Brutalism finds its origins in Western Europe and was widely used in the USSR during the early 1960s after the severe housing crisis from World War 2.
Map of South Zagoria
Topographic tourist maps of South Zagoria can be found in-game, they provide Survivors with proper navigation of the local province via roads or tourist trails. Hiking Trails are also accompanied by resting areas with another topographic map of South Zagoria, which has a legend. There is also satellite imagery found in the game files, which give an insight as to how the region looks from space.
Outside of South Zagoria
Beyond South Zagoria are multiple cities, islands, rivers, and lakes. There is currently no other information regarding these locations apart from the map and road signs found in-game.
Other Places in Chernarus
- The Chernarussian landscape is based heavily on the Czech Republic, the home country of developer Bohemia Interactive. The geography, roads, and major landmarks of Chernarus are modeled after the municipality of Povrly and its surrounding areas. Elektrozavodsk is modeled after Povrly, Solnechny after Dobkovice, Berezino after Malšovice, and so forth (see "Chernarus Georeferenced" on the Longcreek Blog here).
- The Republic of Chernarus is majored by the patriotic political party.
- AAN article "Chernarussian PM Executed".
- Arma 2 mission First To Fight - "Home to around 3,000,000 native Chernarussians and some 800,000 ethnic Russian settlers".
- See "црк" on fuel pumps, which translates to CRK. This is likely a play on CZK, or Czech Koruna, given that Chernarus is based on the Czech Republic.
- From an official DayZ article entitled "9 Survival Tips for New DayZ Players".
- Arma 2 Launch Trailer showing Chernarus to be somehwere in the Caucasus region.
- Chernarussian Crisis Intensifies, an AAN news article (AAN is a fictional news organisation created by Bohemia for the Armaverse).
- Arma 2 Official Website.
- Building Chernarus: Where DayZ's World Came From.