Council of People’s Commissars, 1918
The year is 1918. Russia, once a pillar of imperial stability and order, has descended into anarchy. In the West, the German army massacres the remaining Russian legions. In the East, the White Army battles against Bolshevik forces to restore the old regime. In the South, chaos reigns under the Makhnovist Free Territory in Ukraine. And across the bucolic countryside, peasants violently seize the lands of their former landlords. In the center of it all, the Council of People’s Commissars struggles to assert Bolshevik control over the entire region, as leftists and rightists alike decry the decline of the moderate Kerensky Government. Delegates will fight for the survival of the nascent Soviet nation, as the Council deals with the external and internal threats faced by the Reds during the Russian Civil War. Externally, delegates must deal with opposing forces while constantly struggling with leadership issues, insufficient manpower, and poorly equipped divisions. Internally, delegates must struggle with material and food shortages, ideological opposition, and political treachery. It remains to be seen whether or not delegates will successfully navigate the perilous path to victory and successfully create a Soviet state or if the pressures of the war will lead to their obliteration.
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the Council of People’s Commissars, 1918 at Harvard National Model United Nations 2020. My name is Pablo Martinez, and I will be your director, playing the role of Vladimir Lenin in committee. I am currently a sophomore at Harvard with interests in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy. Extracurricularly, I am very involved in Harvard’s Model UN travel team (ICMUN) and have staffed both HNMUN and HMUN (our sister conference for high school students) in the past. I hope to see some some familiar faces in committee! I am originally from San Dimas, a suburb of Los Angeles, where I have spent countless sunny California days cloistered indoors scanning obscure Wikipedia articles, watching documentaries, and debating with family members. This upbringing has naturally made me a contrarian to the bone, and I delight in discussing novel ideas and ideologies no matter how quixotic and impractical.
I hope this committee will serve as a foray into an incredibly fascinating yet tumultuous time in history. The stark divisions in ideology between not only the Reds and the Whites, but also among the Reds themselves will serve to foment lively and intense debate among you. Moreover, the Russian Civil War was an essential turning point in history with the rise and development of the Soviet Union shaping much of history throughout the 20th century. I look forward to seeing you all skillfully and faithfully represent your role’s individual economic, political, and social interests as you collectively struggle to establish a new Soviet Russia.
Ultimately, I want you all to thoroughly enjoy all aspects of committee, both the substantive and the social. It is my goal to encourage you all to learn more about this historical turning point through my background guide and through the passing of realistic directives in committee. I will also remind you that HNMUN as a whole as well as this committee in particular is committed to an inclusive and welcoming environment for all delegates, regardless of identity or background. I also hope that we can all get to know each other and become friends by the end of our four days together. Once more, I welcome you all to HNMUN 2020!
Director, The Council of People’s Commissars, 1918
Crisis Director's Letter
On behalf of the Harvard International Relations Council, allow me to warmly welcome you to Harvard Model United Nations 2020! My name is Nicolas Weninger, and I am very excited to be the Crisis Director for the Council of People’s Commissars, 1918. I am originally from London – a short hop across the proverbial pond – and I am thoroughly looking forward to meeting each and every one of you in Boston this January!
Model UN has been a large part of my life at Harvard thus far, as a staffer at HNMUN and as a member of ICMUN, Harvard’s competitive MUN team. Beyond MUN, I am extremely interested in engineering, technology, and politics. These interests came from visits to the London Science Museum every weekend as a child. The immense aircraft landing gear at the main entrance and the roaring steam engine in the main hall not only piqued my interest in how these fascinating machines worked, but also just how people coordinated themselves to construct these feats of ingenuity. I have witnessed the occasionally rowdy British Parliament vehemently debate and come to terms with the unbelievable rate of ideological change and the disconnect between peoples this has fostered. Indeed, in this rapidly changing world, such developments will be impacting our lives in profound ways.
I hope that this committee gives you the opportunity to explore how a new ideology can be harnessed for nation-building. This will not be an easy committee, and the subtleties of the topic mean that you the delegates have just as much of a role to play as I do in crafting an insightful and constructive crisis. This experience will be fast paced, intense, and treacherous. Revolutions always are.
If nothing else, I want you to walk away from this conference feeling like you were challenged in new and engaging ways, gained an insight into the fascinating ideological developments that defined the 20th Century, developed your public speaking and diplomatic skills and made close friends from across the globe. I will also note that this committee is entirely open and welcoming to all delegates, regardless of identity. I can only hope that you are as excited about our days together as I am.
I look forward to welcoming all of you to the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Boston in January.
With kindest regards and best wishes for your trip to Boston,
Crisis Director, The Council of People’s Commissars, 1918