Goons have always maintained a good relationship with the Russians in New Eden, generally speaking, going all the way back to The Great War and being given a home by Red Alliance when their own sovereignty had been taken.
As such, Goons, then the CFC, and now The Imperium, tend to treat the Russians with greater care than other groups. We sometimes join them, as happened during the Halloween War, and we generally do not join coalitions against them or get mixed up in their own Russian vs. Russian wars.
There have been exceptions. There was a battle between Red Alliance and other Russians at C-J6MT, a system name you should know if you’ve grabbed a copy of Empires of EVE, where Goons flew down to join the battle for the sake of historical obligations.
We’ve also been at war with Against All Authorities (-A-) on at least one occasion while I have been around. That was one of the wars in Delve (2012 version which ended up with it in TEST’s hands) where -A- was part of the coalition against us. If I recall right, they were pushed out of their space in Catch at the end of that, though with the resilience that the Russians tend to show over the long run, they returned and reconquered some of it later. (Map source)
There is more to the whole Russian thing, as the relationship is multifaceted and resists being summed up into a nice little package, but I think my general statements apply even if you can find points in history that bend or break the overall arc. You can add details in the comments if you like, as this is outside my area of expertise.
So it was that, when the fighting in the north broke out into a general war against The Imperium, some Russians declared for us. Specifically, some members of the loose coalition called Stainwagon Mk. II (there is a site that tracks these coalitions, because there is no in-game organization beyond alliances) said they would join the fight. And some of them have sent forces up to camp gates and harass our foes, for which we are grateful. Every little bit helps.
But another group of Russians, those in the Drone Region Federation (again, the coalition site), made no such general statement. Some elements of it have been seen in the north on either side of the conflict. For example, looking at kill boards, I see Triumvirate (not Russians, but part of the DRF) shooting The Imperium at some points, and shooting TEST or MOA or CO2 at others. It seems that they mostly shoot us, but they aren’t as discerning in their targets as you might imagine. Still, no general involvement by the DRF as a whole.
Then yesterday Legion of xXDeathXx announced that they were going to break with the Drone Walkers, a newly formed alliance that, if I follow the thread correctly, came out of Alternate Allegiance and inPanic which were formed under the auspices of Legion of xXDeathXx.
However, the Drone Walkers took it upon themselves to join in the war against The Imperium, coming up out of Cobalt Edge to attack Tenal, as noted over at The Nosy Gamer, rolling up all the space The Initiative held along with most of Razor’s space in the process.
This was probably a bit awkward for UAxDeath. Legion of xXDeathXx (which I am going to shorten to Legion) has been pretty tight with the us for a while, and was a de facto member of the CFC at one point before loosening ties with us. But there have been good neighbor agreements between the two parties for a long time. Those agreements were part of CO2’s gripes against The Imperium as CO2 went off to attack Legion assets despite those agreements.
So Legion has no love for some of our foes and historical reasons to support us. But Legion is also in an awkward spot, being a fellow sov holding alliance and watching us get shredded by a coalition of largely non-sov holding entities. I can see not wanting to open a new front in the general war in the north, which would put their own holdings at risk.
So, instead, Legion has declared war against just the Drone Walkers. The hope is doubtless to keep that conflict contained to just the north, take some pressure off of The Imperium, yet not invite the whole Moneybadger Coalition to turn on them. The Drone Walkers are a family squabble in that scenario, not a widening of the war.
No doubt, from the Legion’s perspective, the war carrying on longer keeps the rest of New Eden occupied attacking The Imperium and not thinking about what other large sovereignty holding coalition might need breaking up. So giving us a hand in this regard may help with that.
However, will the Moneybadger Coalition see it that way? The responses on Reddit to the news have included random people calling for an expansion of the war. But they are not the Pandemic Legion or Northern Coalition leadership, the senior members of the MBC. They may have no interest in expanding the war right now. But the MBC is a loose association. Just because PL and NCDot don’t want to move in that direction doesn’t mean nobody will.
So the question seems to be will this remain a side conflict and whether or not it will provide much in the way of relief for The Imperium.
Addendum: And speaking of Russians, who are the newly formed Pure Blind Cartel?