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Arstotzka is a communist[1][2] country in the game Papers, Please. It is where the player character works at the Grestin border checkpoint. The country's infamous motto is "Glory to Arstotzka".

Recent history[]

Arstotzka and Kolechia came out of the Six-Year War shortly before September 1982 and relations between the two countries remain somewhat volatile. A particularly heated subject is the status of the city of Grestin, a border town divided into East Grestin, which is under Arstotzkan jurisdiction, and West Grestin, which is part of Kolechia. Crossing the border between the two halves had been impossible, even for Arstotzkan citizens,[3] until November 23rd, 1982 when Arstotzka opened a checkpoint to allow entry from Kolechia.

Constant terrorist attacks at the border, smuggling, human trafficking, turmoil caused by EZIC, and unrest in the Altan district made Arstotzka institute stricter and stricter policies that culminated in confiscation of passports from all Arstotzkan citizens and full information audits for all government workers.

Government and legislation[]

The government of Arstotzka uses capital punishment and forced labor.[4] The government headquarters are located in Paradizna, so it can be assumed Paradizna is the capital of Arstotzka. To be considered eligible for employment Arstotzkans are expected to maintain families and have at least one fellow family member alive to continue the Arstotzkan growth.[5] Arstotzka also attracts immigrants and foreign workers. EZIC describes Arstotzka's government as tyrannical.[6]

Arstotzkan administration consists of at least the following ministries:

Ministry of Admission seal

  • The Ministry of Admission (M.O.A.) is in charge of border control. It is the organization the inspector and his supervisor work for. It issues most of the official documents required by entrants and also issues citations to the inspector when he makes a mistake. A break-in at the M.O.A. offices is discovered on day 11 and leads to an outbreak of forged documents. The M.O.A. also gets a new director on day 13 after multiple terrorist attacks. Its seal is a crest with a red slash in the middle surrounded with red color, with or without the M.O.A lettering.

Ministry of Labor seal

  • The Ministry of Labor (M.O.L.) issues work passes to entrants that wish to work in Arstotzka. Its seal is a hammer on a purple background whose head points leftward, with or without the M.O.L. lettering.
  • The Ministry of Information (M.O.I.) acts as an intelligence agency. Its Office of Investigation[7] conducts information audits on government employees and monitors possible domestic and international threats to Arstotzka.[8] M. Vonel is a Special Investigator in the East Grestin Division of the Office of Investigation.
  • The Ministry of Justice publishes the wanted list since day 14. On day 16, it reassigns guards from the M.O.A., leaving the inspector in charge of border defense.
  • The Ministry of Health is in charge of public health. It takes action on days 25 and 26 when a polio outbreak in the United Federation begins to threaten Arstotzka. It at first informs the Inspector to deny all entrants from the United Federation, before creating the Certificate of Vaccination, requiring all entrants to provide one with an up-to-date polio vaccination.
  • The Ministry of Income investigates financial anomalies. Citizens may file a report if they notice a sudden increase in somebody's wealth.[9]
  • The Ministry of Trade produces legal tender. Its name is printed on 5-credit bills. On day 19 it imposes trade sanctions on Impor in retaliation to Imporian trade sanctions imposed against Arstotzka.

Geography[]

According to the map in the rulebook, Arstotzka borders Kolechia and Obristan, and is subdivided into districts that are listed in identity cards and in the rulebook.

  • Altan – the inspector is required to confiscate passports of citizens from the Altan district from day 24 onward.
  • Vescillo – According to his ID card, Messof Anegovych lives in the Vescillo district.
  • Burnton
  • Octovalis
  • Gennistora – Simon Wens was possibly killed in the Gennistora district on day 31 by the vengeful father, depending on the choices the inspector makes.
  • Lendiforma
  • Wozenfield
  • Fardesto – According to his ID card, Filipe Hasse lives in the Fardesto district.

Other locations[]

  • Nirsk – The inspector's, as well as Sergiu Volda's hometown.
  • Northern Territories – Northern part of Arstotzka with access to Obristan. Connected to the Grestin area by a railroad.[10] In unused headlines, Northern Territories are plagued with snow and heavy winds.
  • The southern coastline is mentioned several times in the unused headlines. In addition to weather-related news, it is mentioned that Kolechian submarines are detected off coast.

Scripted entrants from Arstotzka[]

The list only includes scripted entrants that have special dialog or other options.

Behind the scenes[]

Arstotzka represents a communist Eastern Bloc-esque country and the checkpoint itself is inspired by the checkpoints separating East and West Berlin during the Cold War.[11][2]

Unofficial ministries[]

In addition to the ministries above, Lucas Pope, the game's developer, also mentioned the Ministry of Propaganda,[12] the Ministry of Recreation and Entertainment,[13] and the Ministry of Stamps[14] on Twitter but they do not appear in the game.

Two ministries, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance are mentioned in the unused headlines in the game files but they do not appear in the game.

Logos of unofficial Arstotzkan Ministries. From left to right: Ministry of International Outreach, Ministry of Admission, Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Media, Ministry of Media and Communication, Ministry of Information, and the Ministry of Security.

In the PS Vita announcement, more ministries are mentioned in the text; the Ministry of International Outreach, Ministry of Entertainment Software Production, Ministry of Property Registration, the Ministry of Bridge and Turnpike Construction, and the Ministry of Entertainment Software Planning. The end of the announcement shows the Ministries of Media, Communication, Media and Communication, Admission, Security, and Information approved the release of the game and displays ministry logos.

Arstotzka in popular culture[]

The Arstotzkan eagle emblem in Turbo Dismount.

  • Arstotzka is referenced in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. In Chapter 11, there is an immigration checkpoint in a Madagascar town. Going to it will cause a conversation with Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan, and during the conversation, Nathan says, "Could be worse. Could be Arstotzka."[15][16]
  • Arstotzka is referenced in Turbo Dismount on some billboards throughout the levels. The billboards contain the Arstotzka eagle symbol and words saying "Glory to Arstotzka."
  • Arstotzka is referenced in the indie run-and-gun platformer Broforce as a level with the description, "This is Arstotzka. Sources claim that it is, in fact, a country."[17]
  • Arstotzka is referenced in the strategy game Conflict of Nations, where it replaces Moldova in some maps.[18][19]
  • Arstotzka is referenced in the puzzle game Please Don't Touch Anything, where, after some time, a passport appears on the main screen, and using it to deny entry triggers a Papers Please ending. The music in the game changes to a parody of the Papers Please main theme.
  • Arstotzka is referenced in the game Booth: A Dystopian Adventure on the map showcasing the world

References[]

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