Amerika – . Amerika was about life in the United States after a bloodless takeover engineered by the Soviet Union. Not wanting to depict the actual takeover, ABC Entertainment president Brandon Stoddard set the miniseries ten years after the event, focusing on the demoralized American people a decade after the Soviet conquest.
The human drama of these characters intersects with the political intrigue of the Soviet plans for the breakup of America.
Towards the end of the 1980s, as the decline of the Soviet Union puts itself in danger of losing the Cold War, the Soviet leadership makes a desperate gamble to rearrange the global balance of power. Four large thermonuclear weapons are detonated in the ionosphere over the United States. The resulting electromagnetic pulse (or EMP) destroyed the nation’s communications and computer systems, crippled the American electrical grid, and affected any equipment that relies on computer technology, such as most late-model automobiles. With its ICBMs inoperative—and the National Command Authority unable to contact U.S. military forces abroad or their foreign allies in western Europe to launch a counterattack—America is forced to accept Soviet terms for surrender. The United States quickly falls under Soviet military occupation under the command of Russian General Petya Samanov. The U.S. President and U.S. Congress become mere figureheads for their Soviet overseers in the Kremlin as they began to hatch out their acts of oppression on the people of the United States.
The above events are implied in the miniseries, although never directly explained. Communications between the administrative areas have been cut off, and the damage to the electrical grid caused by the EMP attack has never been fully repaired.
The Soviet leaders of the occupation are faced with the dual problem of keeping America pacified and convincing the Politburo that their fears of a revitalized America are unfounded because the country can no longer pose a threat. The Politburo is not convinced, and even considers exploding nuclear weapons over three unnamed American cities including Washington, D.C., as a warning to the American people and to the world. Samanov and Denisov, both of whom want Soviet control of the United States to be relatively humane, are horrified by this idea.