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Arstotzka is the communist[1][2] country in which Papers, Please takes place, where the inspector works at the Grestin border checkpoint.

Recent HistoryEdit

Arstotzka and Kolechia came out of the Six-Year War shortly before 1982 and the relations between the two countries remain somewhat volatile. A particularly heated subject is the status of the city of Grestin, a border town divided into East Grestin and West Grestin. The western half of the city is Kolechian, while the eastern half is under Arstotzkan jurisdiction. Crossing the border between the two halves has been impossible, even for Arstotzkan citizens,[3] until November 23rd, 1982 when Arstotzka opened a checkpoint to allow entry from Kolechia.

Constant terrorist attacks at the border, smuggling, human trafficking, turmoil caused by EZIC, and unrest in the Altan district made Arstotzka institute stricter and stricter policies that culminated in confiscation of passports from all Arstotzkan citizens and full information audits for all government workers.

Government and LegislationEdit

The government of Arstotzka uses capital punishment and forced labor.[4] The country has a series of harsh laws designed to keep the population subdued. To be considered eligible for employment Arstotzkans are expected to maintain families and have at least one fellow family member alive to continue the Arstotzkan growth.[5] However, Arstotzka also attracts immigrants because of its economic stability. Arstotzka's government may also be tyrannical, as described by EZIC.

Arstotzkan administration consists of at least the following ministries:


Ministry of Admission seal

  • The Ministry of Admission (M.O.A.) is in charge of border control. It is also the organization the inspector and the M.O.A. East Grestin supervisor work for. M.O.A. issues most of the official documents required by entrants. A break-in at the M.O.A. offices is discovered on day 11 and leads to an outbreak of forged documents. M.O.A. also gets a new director on day 13 after multiple terrorist attacks.

Ministry of Labor seal

  • The Ministry of Labor (M.O.L.) issues work passes to entrants that wish to work in Arstotzka. Its seal is a purple hammer whose head points leftward, with or without the M.O.L. lettering.
  • The Ministry of Information (M.O.I.) acts as an intelligence agency and secret police. Its Office of Intelligence conducts information audits on government employees and monitors possible domestic and international threats to Arstotzka. M. Vonel is a Special Investigator in the East Grestin Division of the Office of Intelligence.
  • The Ministry of Justice publishes the Wanted list each day. On day 16, it reappropriates guards from the M.O.A., leaving the inspector in charge of border defense.
  • The Ministry of Health is in charge of public health. It takes action on days 25 and 26 when a polio outbreak in the United Federation begins to threaten Arstotzka.
  • The Ministry of Income investigates financial anomalies. Citizens may file a report if they notice a sudden increase in somebody's wealth.[6]
  • The Ministry of Trade produces legal tender. Its name is printed on 5-credit bills. On day 19 it imposes trade sanctions on Impor in retaliation to Imporian trade sanctions imposed against Arstotzka.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture is mentioned in one of the unused headlines. It can be assumed that it controls and regulates the agricultural sector of the Arstotzkan economy.
  • The Ministry of Finance is mentioned in one of the unused headlines. It can be assumed that it was originally going to serve the same purpose as the Ministry of Income does, but was scrapped since it would be odd for there to be two ministries with similar purposes.

Districts in ArstotzkaEdit

  • Altan - the inspector is required to confiscate passports of citizens from the Altan district from day 24 onward.
  • Vescillo - According to his ID card, Messof Anegovych lives in the Vescillo district.
  • Burnton
  • Octovalis
  • Gennistora - Simon Wens is possibly killed in the Gennistora district on day 31 by a vengeful father, depending on the choices the inspector makes.
  • Lendiforma
  • Wozenfield
  • Fardesto - According to his ID card, Filipe Hasse lives in the Fardesto district.

Other LocationsEdit

  • Nirsk – The inspector's hometown.
  • Northern Territories – Northern part of Arstotzka with access to Obristan. In unused headlines, Northern Territories are plagued with snow and heavy winds.
  • The southern coastline is mentioned several times in the unused headlines. In addition to weather-related news, it is mentioned that Kolechian submarines are detected off coast.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Arstotzka represents a communist Eastern Bloc-esque country and the checkpoint itself is inspired by the checkpoints separating East and West Berlin during the Cold War.[7][2]

In addition to the ministries above, Lucas Pope, the game's developer, also mentioned the Ministry of Propaganda,[8] the Ministry of Recreation and Entertainment,[9] and the Ministry of Stamps[10] on Twitter but they do not appear in the game.

Arstotzka is referenced in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. In Chapter 11, there is an immigration checkpoint in a Madagascar town. Going to it will cause a conversation with Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan, and during the conversation, Nathan says, "Could be worse. Could be Arstotzka."[11]

Arstotzka is refrenced in Turbo Dismount on some billboards throughout the levels. The billboards contain the Arstotzka bird symbol and words saying "Glory to Arstotzka."


  1. Official website, FAQ
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Papers, Please
  3. The first entrant on day 1
  4. Endings 5 and 6
  5. Ending 2
  6. Seen on day 13 if the inspector accepted money from EZIC
  7. New 'Papers Please' Video Game May Surprise You – ABC News
  11. [ Easter Eggs and Secrets - IGN Uncharted 4 Wiki Guide

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