The following was copied from the Wiki entry about Chernarus’ history and slightly modified for IC purposes. It still stands to be true.
The first settlements in the area date back to the 5th Century B.C. when the valleys of the Burnaja and Svetlaya rivers were inhabited by Skyth tribes and nomads, who later formed the Takmyr and Karzeg nations. The center of modern Chernarus had been founded in the delta of the Burnaya River and on the coast, divided from the Zagorie region which was under the supremacy of a Moscow Principate by the Black Mountains ridge.
The local Slavic population constantly had to fight off the raiders from the southwest so it was traditionally bound with Russia, but always kept its independence. In the 12th Century it was controlled by dukes; in the 13th century, it was united by Taras Kozub. The Kozub dynasty ruled until 1631 when Chernarus joined the Russian Empire. Chernarus became a part of the Soviet Socialist Republic in 1922 after the end of the Russian revolution of 1917. After the demise of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1991, Chernarus gained its independence.
Following this, Chernarus was established as a Republic and its army -- the Chernarussian Defence Forces -- took possession of former Soviet military installations and stockpiles. In 2009, it suffered from a civil war that left the country in turmoil, forcing it to seek help from NATO and U.S forces.
The civil war was primarily caused by the Chernarussian Movement of the Red Star, a communist-socialist faction that had their presence in the northeastern Oblast called South Zagoria. The communist-socialist faction was also known as the "Chedaki", an abbreviation of the full name. They committed several war crimes and attempted to cover them up, with their goal being to create a socialist state within Chernarus just like during the Soviet period of Chernarus's history.
Feelings of nostalgia for the Soviet Union and its superpower status under socialism led to their creation and agenda and small gained support among older generations who lived most of their lives in the Soviet Union. It was not until a staged bombing in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, that led to the Chedaki's annexation of various regions of Chernarus. After the movement spread across almost all of South Zagoria and several other contested territory of Chernarus, they took the island of Utes and kicked out the CDF forces stationed there, which was only later to be liberated by United States Marine Corps.
The Russian Federation became involved after the ChDKZ staged the bombing in Russia, killing dozens. The Russian government was fooled into thinking it was the nationalist guerrilla faction known as the National Party (NAPA) that conducted the bombing which had links to the Chernarussian government, thus leading to the presence of Russian troops in the very north of South Zagoria. They gave excessive amounts of weapons to the ChDKZ which was already against the Chernarussian government, in turn causing the civil war of 2009 where the whole region of South Zagoria collapsed into chaos and death.
The United Nations and the United States were sent into the southern parts of the oblast, securing coastal cities from the ChDKZ like Chernogorsk to liberate cities and secure any further conflict between the nations. It was only to be revealed later that a rogue Official of the Russian government sent money and support to the ChDKZ to deface and frame NAPA as the sole perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Russia, and sought to bring a war between Russia and Chernarus.
The following has been written for QRP and is to be held as canon information regarding the most recent lore of Chernarus.
Post civil war, Chernarus did their best to use the war to their advantage. Taking some time to rebuild, the first half of the decade was used to repair what could be salvaged. Military installments were repurposed or abandoned entirely. The people began to move beyond the war just as Officials tried to use it to gather tourism. News sources covered the war as long as it had been going on. Due to this ongoing coverage, interests were piqued. With the constant influx of foreign faces on their home soil, NAPA became an ever-present force in the streets. They were armed but generally kept to themselves unless they met with provocation or confrontation. For this reason, they were given a new media identity. It was one they weren’t able to disagree with: Vigilante forces.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that when the initial outbreak happened, the summer of 2018, they were the first to try to set up their own safe zones. Backed by CDF after they declared Martial Law, Chernarus was named the first safe zone of Eastern Europe. They boasted guarded cities, military outposts, and checkpoints and full patrols. By August, everything was settled and the people began creating farmland.
Word quickly spread about infected in large packs across their northern borders. Their Mother Country, Russia, did their best to dissuade the infected from traveling any further into their country with bombings and widespread warfare. Sadly it wasn’t enough to staunch the large anti-human packs. The populace of Chernarus began begging CDF to help their Allies to the north with their own fire-power. CDF declined for lack of Manpower and having been spread fairly thin, to begin with. CDF urged the civilians to take up faith in their Mother Country, as Russian Military figures were doing their best. It did nothing to stop the people from pushing against CDF and taking to the streets. They started to riot. NAPA stepped in to reassure the people they were going to up the patrols and firepower where CDF was lacking.
Amidst the panic, The Chedaki began to broadcast on the radios that the people weren’t safe with the CDF and NAPA and that they were being made complacent by false reassurances. The Infected were traveling south, according to their sources, all along the Black Mountains. They urged the civilians to take up arms and leave the safe zones in order to join the Chedaki and defend their country. While some of the populace remained for the known safety they already had, other chose to breach the walls and do as their nationalist brothers advised them to. They grabbed what supplies they could and made for the mountains. Just as they left, Russian refugees, along with other Slavic countries, began to file into the Safe zone begging for safety.
While the group that left were mourned by their friends and family, after having been disparaged by the NAPA and CDF guards at the gate as ‘already dead’, the officials in the towns began urging those who remained to prepare to defend from inside the walls. Those with training were ordered to revisit their old ways and pick up rifles. With a quick brush up, as many people joined NAPA forces along their patrols and guard posts as possible.
Within a week’s time, the announcement hit the radios that Russia had failed. The hordes were making their way south across the northern borders of Chernarus into the middle oblast. Around late September, Any settlements within the area were urged to move West and prepare for emergency evacuation. As they left their Safe zone and ventured into unknown dangers, they began to find the further west they traveled, out of Central Kopek, the worse things seemed to get. With a heavy concentration of infections and harrowing sights of mauled civilians, execution walls, and hanged individuals, they started to lose hope. Still, CDF and NAPA encouraged them to keep going.
As they entered the home stretches that lead them to Novigrad, they were stopped by a Chedaki entourage that had set up a checkpoint along the highway. The Caravan of buses were held at gunpoint until the Chedaki could explain. Novigrad was off limits due to the high concentration of infection. They were told to turn around or face consequences. When asked to identify the consequences, they refused to speak on it. Chedaki simply refused to allow them any further.
With little to no options, and unwilling to risk the population remaining, the traveling group turned back and started up the southern highway. As they entered the city limits of Primorsk, the skies opened and lit up with a bright blaring light, followed by distance, low rumbles like thunder. Those who were curious enough asked the CDF what was happening. They knew the sounds well enough. Explosions. Blanket bombs dropping over Novigrad. That must have been what the Chedaki were warning them about.
By the time the majority of the living, clean settlers were moved to Zelenogorsk it was too late. Roving packs on infected had compromised most of South Zagoria and without another choice, they began moving South. CDF promised an evacuation on the coasts nearby the Island of Utes. As they arrived in Svetlojarsk, two large shipping vessels are prepared for boarding. Civilians are counted as they load into the boats. As they pushed from the dock, they began to sail south toward Utes. The first vessel seemed to be going along just fine, though the second came across the problem with stowaways. Chedaki disguised as NAPA tried to commandeer the large vessel for their own use, and capture the civilians aboard as recruits. NAPA and CDF did their best to try and de-escalate the situation but to no avail. It turned into a firefight. Chaos ensued as Civilians and military personnel alike are gunned down.
In a stroke of bad luck, the captain of the shipping barge was struck fatally by a stray bullet. This would send the large boat off course and at full speed, it would collide with the coast between Berezino and Svetlojarsk. The occupants were decimated. Those left were severely wounded or battered enough that they were unlikely to survive.
The first ship, unaware of the happenings with the second, crossed the sea into Turkey where officials were preparing to move to Cyprus. It was a newly secured Safe zone set up by the UN. Without delay, they joined the caravan of boats and started their journey to the secured Island. Remaining NAPA and CDF moved their bases of operations along with them.
Due to the lack of notice, people coming from other Areas of Europe seemed to have missed the bandwagon. Without directive of where to go, they were lost to the abandoned wasteland where the settlement in Chernarus once stood. They would have to make due or hope that they could make it to Cyprus before the two-week countdown for most zones was finished and they were locked out for fear of contaminating the populace. It’s now been six months total since the infection rocked the world and put it off kilter. Most of those not able to make the lockdown were left by the wayside.
Of the 7 billion living people in the world, only 10 percent survived the infection, leaving 700 million. Of those left, only a third made it to Safe zones, worldwide. That meant only 230 million people made it into all Safe zones across the globe. One-third of them died within the first three months due to starvation, infection, illness or cancer gone untreated. Only 7 million people remain in these zones today.
Outside of the zones is a much larger picture. It is hard to guess how many remain as there is no real way to take a census. It is estimated that half of these people would have died by now due to infected maulings, animal attacks, hypothermia, food poisoning, cancer, and other untreated ailments. That would have left around 230 million stranded in the wasteland.
In the wake of the initial outbreak in North Africa, the public was relatively calm. News had spread throughout all forms of media- though the public wasn’t phased due to many believing it to be another “Ebola Scare” from 2014-16. As the disease spread more rapidly North, and the UN began to advise national lockdowns and Safe Zones, an initial mass hysteria ensued throughout the nation. There was looting, small riots, and many suicides in the first week or so from the UN alerting the world. People who were sick- even if with just a common cold- were taken to military bases that had been reformed as “speciality hospitals”. Here the government meant to find anyone infected with the virus and keep them segregated from the general population as to not let it spread.
As the weeks passed, people generally began to calm down. Martial law was set in all the major cities across Chernarus by the CDF, and more rural areas were told to “sit tight” and wait for everything to “blow over”. Also, many religious leaders and their flocks began to think that the end-times had come, and that all hope was lost. At least two group suicides of entire church congregations were reported during this time. Ironically enough, NAPA (the Chernarussian National Party), who are a highly religious extremist organization, actually threatened any priests who would push for this sense of “end times” with “dire consequences” if they continued with this behavior. This caused a large majority of hysteria to drop within days- allowing people to look at the situation more objectively and thus be able to raise morale nationwide.
With the infected moving North into Russia, Russian Air Forces began carpet/firebombing the hordes in a (inevitably futile) attempt at pushing them back. This rattled the public, causing them to cry out for the CDF to do the same. A sense of anger towards the CDF spread across the population as they felt their government wasn’t doing enough to prevent the infected from reaching Chernarus. This created a rift between the communities. What started with angry protests, grew steadily into full blown riots and even small skirmishes between CDF, police, and small militias that took up arms. Small attacks on CDF outposts from ChDKZ occured in the weeks that followed, though none were reported to the public due to fear of the ChDKZ gaining support from their actions.
Even with this unrest, the nation stayed secure. Due to this, refugees from Russia and Georgia began to flood into the nation in droves. This infuriated the public, as there was barely enough supplies for the citizens already- much less any refugees. However, this anger was soon turned to fear as reports of infected hordes heading towards Chernarus reached the public. Panic ensued, and people attempted to escape in mass- though only an estimated 1/10th of them made it out of the country.
The infected broke through the thinned lines of CDF with ease, ravaging through the countrysides and into the major cities. Many died as the waves moved South, and those who managed to escape succumbed to death at the beaches and borders that were crowded with panicked and violent survivors trying to find a way out. Anyone who managed to actually escape into the Green Sea fled out towards Cyprus. This was the “final holding point” that the UN pleaded survivors from Chernarus to head toward. Of the few that escaped, even fewer made it to the island. Some managed to hide in the countryside, safe houses, and in the mountains. This allowed them to survive and even thrive inside the compromised nation. Pockets of NAPA, CDF, ChDKZ, and civilians are dotted around Chernarus- though very few and far between. Most survivors are now beginning to harden to the harsh lives they must now live, though some still attempt to cling to the ideals of their old world and lives with vigor. As these are the only things that keep them sane in insane times.