“The first duty of a man is to think for himself.”
― Jose Marti
Chernarus is a rich and beautiful land, home to a culture that has evolved over a millennia. An integral piece of the Chernarussian identity is struggle and strife, and they are a people that have suffered countless tragedies, but always managed to persevere through it all. Chernarus has been shaped by both its politics and its various rulers, but it is not a nation built by kings and dictators, it is a nation built from the sweat and blood of the common man. Families of laborers, farmers, and soldiers spend their entire lives in service to Chernarus, while the privileged reap the rewards of their labor. The Sobeks were one such family, living modest lives in the small village of Stary Yar, working as lumberjacks in service to the local mill. When Josef was born, memories of tyranny under the Soviets were still fresh in the mind of every Chernarussian, and Josef's father had even enlisted with the newly organized CDF. Growing up, he enjoyed a modest but pleasant childhood, and both he and his siblings were provided for despite the family's meager wealth. By the time Josef's father had finished his tenure with the CDF, he and his brothers were ready to learn the family trade. As soon as he was able to handle a hatchet, Josef worked alongside his father mercilessly culling the trees that surrounded the Black Mountains. The work was hard and unforgiving, but it was an honest lifestyle, and the Sobek family was able to enjoy the benefits of peace.
Unfortunately, as with all the best things in life, peace is temporary.
As the 20th century was coming to a close, discontent in the former Soviet republic began to steadily increase. Socialist ideas inherited from their once Russian occupiers still lingered among some of the populace, and these ideas were given validity as the government enacted policies meant to benefit the upper class. As industry and private enterprise began to leak into Chernarus, steadily weakening regulation and poor management allowed companies and factories to take advantage of their workers, utilizing cheap labor to create enough products to compete with the rest of the European market. Stary Yar's local lumber mill began to expect more labor for worse pay, and this greatly enraged Josef's father and his peers. His father was a humble and honest man, and he would not allow his family and his neighbors to be taken advantage of. Josef's father and eldest brothers became members of the Working Man's Defense Alliance, a civilian union that secretly held anti-government views, and was rapidly gaining popularity. Josef was young and naive to the politics his family had involved itself in, spending most of his time assisting his mother on the farm, while his father and brothers participated in the sweeping protests that would soon strike Chernarus. Tensions between the WMDA and the government only continued to grow, and this eventually culminated with a violent protest at the Solnichniy Quarry, with the unionists clashing with security forces. The struggle cost Josef's eldest brother his life, and the WMDA was dissolved soon after. The government began to crack down on the unionist who held ties to the WMDA, and before Josef's father could escape back home, he was arrested by secret police.
Josef's father was never seen again, disappearing like dust in the wind. The Sobek family had lost both its patriarch, and its main source of income. Both Josef and his mother were devastated, and the loss of his father punctured a hole in the boy's heart that would never heal. Josef was too young to work at the lumber mill himself, leaving the burden of work and income to his widowed mother. Their modest crops would never be able to sustain the family alone, and Josef's mother began to look for alternative means of employment. With limited options and multiple mouths to feed, she soon fell into prostitution, taking various suitors into their home and completing their transactions behind a locked door. Josef was now the eldest of his siblings, and the burden of caring for his brothers and sisters often fell upon his shoulders, and the young man did the best he could. Some of his mother's suitors were violent drunkards or sadistic junkies, and they took as much pleasure abusing Josef and his siblings as much as they enjoyed his mother. Unwilling to turn away the money, or perhaps completely drained of her own empathy, his mother would often stand to the side, and watch.
As Josef grew into adolescence, his mother died of a heroine overdose, and the Sobek estate fell into his hands. He sent his siblings to live with their estranged family, hoping they'd discover better lives as he managed their modest plot of land. Needing to provide for himself and pay off the debts of his mother, Josef managed his family's crops and sought employment with the local lumber mill. In the years following the death of his father, the working conditions had only deteriorated at the mill, but Josef found himself with no other option. His ambitions soon grew beyond the need to survive, and Josef endeavored to earn enough money to afford a proper education for himself. With what little surplus money he could scrounge together, Josef would treat himself to books and novels on various subjects, reading in between working the forests and the fields. Eventually, Josef was approached by a fellow worker who claimed he was a friend to the boy's father. As they began to congregate and share stories, the man revealed to Josef that he was a member of the highly secretive and dangerous ChDKZ, and his comrades were looking to recruit. He explained that the Chedaki were a collective of laborers who sought to end inequality through the nation and reintegrate Chernarus into the Russian Federation, where it had prospered previously for centuries. They would destroy the tyranny of the government and the upper class, restoring dignity and fairness to their homeland. Josef was promised both revenge and revolutionary glory, and a seed was planted deep in the boy's mind that would continue to grow throughout the course of his life.
Josef gathered his resolve, and took up the cause of the Chedaki's revolution.
Hardship had chipped away at Josef's childhood, and he had been forced to grow up quicker than most. He was only 17, but the Chedaki wasn't prepared to turn away a pair of able hands, perfect for a freshly imported AK-74. Josef fought and bled for their revolution, and his newly adopted ideologies were validated by their early string of victories throughout South Zagoria. He was only a grunt, fodder meant to repel the CDF and the Western invaders, but every foot soldier was integral to the success of their cause. At least, that is what he had been taught to believe. As the civil war raged on and the Chedaki became increasingly violent, Josef began to realize that his comrades were not entirely the idealistic revolutionaries they had proclaimed themselves to be. Acts of escalating violence against the civilian population became more common, and Josef himself was even made to witness these horrors. His commander declared that a local village was conspiring to smuggle weapons to NAPA fighters, and he soon commanded his soldiers to bring the revolution to their doorstep. Men were either strung up by their necks or executed by firing squad, while the women met an equal or even more horrific fate. Some of the children were even unable to escape the revolution's wrath. Tears welling behind his eyes, Josef was made to tighten a noose around a seamstress' neck, and her screams buzzed in his ears as he watched her hang.
In the months following the Chedaki's eventual defeat, Josef had managed to flee the country and evade the governments persecution of all socialist sympathizers. Escaping to Russia, Josef sought asylum with the Chedaki's Russian contacts, who had been secretly supporting their now defunct revolution. He was outcast from his homeland and his comrades were either dead or scattered, but Josef was unbroken, determined to strike out on his own path and return one day to Chernarus. There would be equality and justice in his homeland some day, and he would be the one to see it through. Josef began to attend university in Moscow, starting the education that he had been yearning for since childhood. This new environment greatly expanded and diversified his beliefs, strengthening his faith in socialism, and he began to believe that tyranny of all forms were the ultimate enemy of mankind. But his hunger for knowledge and philosophy led him away from Russia and to the United States, where his fabricated identity allowed him to earn a place at an American university. He learned Western customs and perfected his understanding of English, both he believed to be essential in their modern globalist society. Josef finished his education in America and decided it was time for the prodigal son to return home.
Chernarus was a changed land, and it was certainly not the same country he had left behind years ago. Peace had been upheld throughout the country, but the inequality and corruption he had fought against was still rampant and oppressive, and even strengthened by the nation's stagnated economy. Wanting to make an impact, Josef became a journalist working for a local newspaper centered in Zelenogorsk. He utilized his new position to investigate corporate and government corruption, exposing his findings in articles published through his newspaper. He wanted to expose his ideology and personal beliefs to the public, but his years with the Chedaki had taught him to be smarter, working subversively to combat tyranny in Chernarus. His hit pieces proved extremely popular with the locals in Zelenogorsk, and his publication began to reach beyond the bounds of the city. But this success would soon prove to be his ultimate enemy when the government caught on to his reporting. After publishing an article detailing a corruption scandal involving a federal attorney, Josef was apprehended by the Chernarussian security forces. His guilt had already been determined long before his arrest, and they made sure he was unable to do any further damage once he was behind bars. But even as he found himself disgraced and imprisoned, Josef's resolve only strengthened, and he knew it was only a matter of time until an opportunity would present itself.
That opportunity finally came when the infection struck Chernarus. Once society in South Zagoria began to break down, the security forced stationed within the prison found themselves without any leadership or resources. Of course, it was only a matter of time until the prisoners organized themselves into a proper riot. Desperate and left without many options, the security forces decided to execute the prisoners and save themselves, but the inmates took advantage of the situation to corner many of the security officers and confiscate their guns. Josef was one of the first through the breach when they finally broke through the prison's main gate, free to strike out into the world once again. Josef's heart ached for the Chernarussians who suffered because of the infection, but he realized that this disaster was exactly what his revolution needed.
With resolve in his heart and a rifle in his hands, Josef now sets out to free his bratri from tyranny, and liberate his homeland once and for all.