"Then where the hell is 'here'?"
"We ... don't actually know, sir."
The Lenin Affair, named for the Vladimir Lenin-class dreadnought around which it was focused, is the name given by the Mecharussians to the series of events which led up to first contact between the Mechanocracy and the Imperium of Sidhae. The affair took place from December 24th, 2151 to February 10th, 2152 (or from August 19th, 2630 to October 6th, 2630 in the Sidh calendar).
As the Mecharussian Armed Forces was staging a full-scale invasion of the People's Technocratic Federation of Singapore, to exploit the power vacuum created by the Singaporean Civil War and acquire new territory, Aerofleet Grand Marshal Arkhip Abdulov sought to use the war to test a new command and fire-support platform - the Vladimir Lenin.
However, on its maiden voyage from the Lunagrad spaceport to the Singaporean home dimension, the dreadnought's teleportation drive malfunctioned due to a serious design flaw: instead of transporting the Lenin to its proper destination, it ended up with the warship being catapulted to a completely random dimension by the drive's failsafe. By order of a freak accident, the dimension it landed in was that inhabited by the warmongering race of posthumans that would become known to the Mecharussians as the Sidhae. After a very brief and extremely one-sided battle with the Sidh strike cruiser Hammer of Thor, the Lenin was destroyed (with half of the dreadnought crash-landing on the planetary surface below), forcing the crew to abandon ship. Only four survived the crash: Colonel Visarion Tokarev, Captain Zinoviya Marilova, Sergeant Vsevolod Berdan and Corporal Yuri Lavochkin.
In order to prevent enemy forces from acquiring critical intelligence pertaining to the Vladimir Lenin dreadnought programme and using any captured/tortured Mecharussians as possible double agents, Grand Marshal Abdulov conspired with Special Purpose Guard Brigade commander General Elena Trotskaya to launch a dual-operation to rescue the missing soldiers. The Mecharussian Space Marines would initiate Operation Battering Ram to assault the Hammer of Thor and rescue Marilova from enemy captivity, while the Spetsnaz would launch Operation Darkhammer to acquire the missing Marines still on the surface of the alien planet. As both Abdulov and Trotskaya did not want the already-beleaguered dreadnought programme to be scrapped in its entirety as a result of the Lenin Affair, the Senate was not informed of either operation taking place or that the Lenin had even disappeared.
With the catastrophic failure of Operation Battering Ram and subsequent loss of all 17 Black Coats involved, Abdulov was confronted by a furious Senate after a Sidh plasma grenade seriously damaged one of the portal chambers in the Gatchina Command Centre and Trotskaya was forced to reveal Operation Darkhammer to the Military Council (in Abdulov's absence). It was there that she learned of the Senate's intention to send a delegation to the alien universe in order to acquire Marilova peacefully. Eventually, word of the Lenin Affair reached OTAN, who informed Trotskaya of its intentions to establish relations with the Sidhae with the purpose of exploiting their technological superiority to the advantage of the Mechanocracy. One such plan that the archaelect envisioned was Project Echidna, a new attempt to create a batch of hypersoldiers using Sidh progenitory and cyber-augmentation technology.
Although Operation Battering Ram proved to be a resounding failure, Operation Darkhammer was a total success, with Colonel Victor Golovkin successfully returning Tokarev, Berdan and Lavochkin to the Mechanocracy. Victory was achieved only after many setbacks, however, including the destruction of Golovkin's multiversal communicator in a Greencoat ambush in Bayit Gadol.
Politically, the Lenin Affair was enormously beneficial to the Mecharussian government, as now that contact had been made with the Imperium, missions to build up relations between the two countries could commence in earnest. These plans would first take manifest in the construction of temporary embassies on Europa and Scatach Prime. Provisions would also be made for constructing more permanent embassies in Sunikagrad and New Aedun.
Militarily and economically, the affair was a huge disaster, coming to be referred to as 'the biggest strategic blunder in Russian history since the Battle of Tannenberg'. The cost of constructing the Vladimir Lenin had been monumental, and losing the dreadnought - especially to an accident - struck a serious blow to Aerofleet power-projection capabilities. So serious and embarrassing was the disaster that it persuaded the Senate to cancel the entire Lenin dreadnought programme.
With much persuasion from Abdulov and Trotskaya, however, it was decided that the gap intended to be filled by the Lenin-class was to be taken instead by the construction of 12 additional Mezghorye-class missile stealthers and a new class of supercarrier, the Kliment Voroshilov-class supercarrier, of which three were to be built. In addition, the second of the Lenin dreadnoughts, the newly-constructed MSS Joseph Stalin, was to survive being scrapped. As the largest warship in the Aerofleet, the Stalin would become its nominal flagship.