Welcome to the Other World

For more than a decade, a BDSM-inspired micronation in the heart of Eastern Europe inverted gender norms and tested the bounds of nation-building.

Bright and early one Saturday morning in June 2000, around 25 men scuttled down a castle stairway, into the long corridor of a stable. Each buck naked save for a ragged pair of shoes, neck collar, and set of clanking leg irons, they tripped and stumbled as a line of imperious, gorgeous young women, clad in leather fetish gear, caned them with a gauntlet of long rods. Suddenly, the men burst forth into the warm, sunny air and started to fan out, scattering across an open, 2-acre field. Then, quick on their heels, about 35 new women, likewise clad in domination getups, marched out after the men, carrying with them rods, riding crops, and dozens of eggs.

As the shackled men scrambled through muddy ponds, trying and failing to climb little hillocks, the women lit out after them, hurling eggs left and right. Every time a cold, hard shell smacked into the soft flesh of one of the running men, he stopped, turned, and crawled back to the woman who’d pegged him, sometimes licking or kissing her boots before being dragged back to a holding pen. Once inside, the detained men obediently let the women whip and smack them—and with each blow, the struck man breathlessly and profusely thanked his cajoling, laughing striker.

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