Russian Lawmaker Wants Romanovs to Return to Russia Topic: Russian Imperial House
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Head of the Russian Imperial House and de jure Empress of All the Russias
The decision to invite back the Russian royals is one of the most significant events of the post-Soviet period. This article was originally published in the June 23rd, 2015 edition of Russia Today, and edited for clarification by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
A regional lawmaker has addressed the heirs of the Russian Imperial House and descendants of the Romanov dynasty with a request to return to Russia promising them a special legal status and one of historic palaces in Crimea or St. Petersburg.
The move proposed by Vladimir Petrov, a law maker from President Vladimir Putin's party, and member of the legislative assembly of the Leningrad Region, has prompted speculation that it has the Russian leaders' direct approval. Petrov wrote letters to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Dimitri Romanovich asking them to become symbols of national culture and maintaining traditions, similar to that of the European nations that retained their monarchies to this day.
“For the whole length of its reign the Romanov imperial dynasty remained a foundation of the Russian statehood. At present Russia is undergoing a complicated process of regaining its glory and worldwide influence. I am sure that in this historical moment the Romanovs would not stay away from all processes that are taking place in Russia,” Petrov writes in his letter.
The politician suggested that this move would help to smooth political controversies within Russia and help to restore the “spiritual power” of the nation.
Petrov added that he and his colleagues from the Leningrad regional legislature would very soon develop and draft a bill “On the special status of representatives of the Tsars’ family” that would give some guarantees to the returning Romanovs. He also said that the royals could use one of the palaces that belonged to their ancestors before the revolution and that now remain vacant or are misused.
“To this day a lot of wonderful Tsar’s palaces near St. Petersburg are either empty or used not according to their destination. I think if one of these palaces is used as an official residence of the Romanov family it would only be for everyone’s benefit,” the lawmaker said in comments to Izvestia daily. He noted that another option was to settle the royals in the Livadia Palaces in Crimea.
The head of the Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House, Aleksandr Zakatov, told Izvestia that some representatives of the dynasty were ready to move to Russia. However, he noted that Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna held a high post of the head of the imperial house and therefore her return should be decent and solemn.
“She has no claims for property or political privileges and powers, she only wants the imperial house to become a historical institution and part of the national legacy, similar to royal houses of many other countries. And this recognition must be manifested in a legal act,” Zakatov said.
Currently there are two major branches of the Romanov dynasty – one is headed by Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House and the other by Dimitri Romanovich, Head of the Romanov Family Association. Their representatives often visit Russia and take part in various events, but so far none of them have made any political claims.
An opinion poll conducted in 2013 in connection with the 400th anniversary of the Romanov royal house showed that 28 percent of Russian citizens would agree to the rule of Tsars, but only 6 percent said that this modern monarch must be from the Romanov dynasty. About 13 percent hold that a contemporary Russian politician could become a new Tsar and suggested a nationwide referendum to decide on the candidate.
The majority of the people - 67 percent - said that Russia should leave monarchy in the past and remain a democracy.
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Visits Berlin for 70th Anniversary Victory Celebrations Topic: Russian Imperial House
Andrey Golubev, Grand Duke George Mikhailovich , and Iu. V. Myshonkov. Berlin, May 8 2015.
On May 709, 2015, H.I.H. The Heir, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia visited Berlin, where he took part in celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
On May 7, the Grand Duke arrived in Berlin. His Imperial Highness was greeted at the airport by Iu. V. Myshonkov, an advisor to the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House; A. V. Golubev, the organizer of the Grand Duke’s visit; Stephan Seeger, the Managing Director of the Sparkasse Foundations; and Kai-Uwe Döhler, a representative of the business community in Germany.
Upon arriving, the Grand Duke George of Russia went to the residence “Schloss Neuhardenberg.” That evening, he attended a dinner in his honour.
On May 8, the Tsesarevich attended a panikhida service “for the commanders and soldiers who fell on the battlefield” in the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection in Berlin. The panikhida was served by Fr. Daniil Saifutdinov. He also laid flowers at the graves of soldiers buried on the grounds of the cathedral. The parishioners of the cathedral presented His Imperial Highness an icon of his Heavenly Patron, the Holy Great Martyr and Victory-Bearer George. The Grand Duke expressed his heartfelt thanks to the parish community and congratulated them on the approaching Victory Day holiday.
On May 9, the Grand Duke George of Russia met with O. Ksenofontov, the head of the branch office of the Russian Federal Agency for International Humanitarian Cooperation (“Rossotrudnichestvo)” in Germany, and the Director of the Russian House of Science and Culture.
That same day, His Imperial Highness laid a wreath at the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park. The inscription on the ribbon reads: “To the Ever-Memorable Defenders of the Nation and Victors over Nazism—from the Russian Imperial House.”
Later, H.I.H. The Grand Duke George of Russia laid a wreath at the Soviet War Memorial in the Teirgarten.
That afternoon, the Grand Duke attended a formal reception at the Russian embassy to the Federal Republic of Germany at the invitation of the ambassadors of the Russian Federation (V. Grinin), Azerbaijan (P. Shakhbazov), Belarus (A. Giro), Kazakhstan (B. Nussupov), Kirgizstan (B. Otunbaev), Tajikistan (M. Nematov), Turkmenistan (T. Ataiev), Uzbekistan (D. Amanov), and Armenia (A. Smbatyan).
At the reception, the Grand Duke George of Russia spoke with the Russian ambassador to Germany, V. M. Grinin, exchanging warm and friendly greetings on the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War. His Imperial Highness also met and spoke with other official guests, veterans, members of the clergy and Cossack community, and other guests.
That evening, H.I.H. The Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia returned to Brussels.
While in Berlin, His Imperial Highness was interviewed by RIA-Novosti’s correspondent Angelina Timofeeva, the Grand Duke George of Russia discusses why the memory of the victory in the Great Patriotic War remains such a powerful factor in national unity, and why the remains of members of the House of Romanoff are being reburied in Russia.
— Your Imperial Highness, why are you taking part in the celebrations in Berlin marking the 70th anniversary of the ending of the Great Patriotic War?
— The House of Romanoff has always striven to bring people together and to promote in other countries an understanding of Russia’s position on issues of the day. This is a vital part of our mission. Here in Berlin, I want first and foremost to honor the memory of my countrymen who gave their lives in the struggle against Nazism, and secondly, to demonstrate that Russian history is continuous and unbroken, and that the Russian people around the world are wholly united in solidarity, even if there are specific issues upon which we disagree among ourselves. The Russian Imperial House is removed from all forms of political disputes and places above all else those things which bring people together, rather than pull them apart. Our continuing memory of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 and our gratitude to the defenders of our country remain powerful factors of national unity in our day.
Russia has survived many horrific wars. Those who are attempting today to portray our country as some kind of “aggressor” are being very fair. Our people have borne incredible sufferings as a result of wars. Russians at an almost genetic level understand all the horrors of war and always strive for peace. But if we are attacked, we will defend ourselves. The monument to the soldier-liberators in Treptower Park is a good reminder of this. For me, it is deeply symbolic that on this day, when there is a victory parade in Moscow, I and other Russians are representing our country here in Berlin, where, thanks to the feats of our armed forces, the worst war in the history of humanity came to an end.
— Do you have plans to participate in similar ceremonies in Moscow, and if so, which ones?
— This year, my mother, the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and I will be traveling to Russia several times and participating in memorial events in Moscow and in other cities. These events include panikhida services for fallen soldiers in churches and at military cemeteries, laying flowers and wreaths at statues and monuments, and academic conferences, among other things. And, of course, we will participate in more official events as well—in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and in other large cities.
But it is also important to us to celebrate this anniversary with our countrymen in the border areas and small towns where so many terrible battles actually took place, areas that may be somewhat lesser known. The people living in these places also deserve our attention. And the most touching moments that I have ever experienced have happened in such places. I will never forget, for example, how last year I marked Victory Day in the village of Kabona, on the “Road of Life,” over which the people of Leningrad received life-sustaining aid during the Blockade.
— What is your reaction to the reburial of the remains of Grand Duke Nicholas Romanoff and his wife in Russia, which took place on April 30, in the Chapel of the Transfiguration at the Briansk Military Cemetery in Moscow?
— Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich has every right to be buried in his homeland. But I think it was a mistake to rebury him in Moscow. The Grand Duke had very few ties to Moscow and he never expressed the wish to be buried there. I think it would have been more appropriate to bury him in the family mausoleum—in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, where his father, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich the Elder, lies buried.
I also don’t quite understand why his remains, and those of his wife, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, were reburied in Russia, but not the remains of his brother, Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich, and his wife, Grand Duchess Militsa Nikolaevna; or those of Emperor Nicholas II’s brother-in-law, Prince Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg. Russia was their homeland, and they too wanted to return to it, even if only after their deaths. And they deserve reburial in Russia no less than does Nicholas Nikolaevich—perhaps even more then he does.
Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich was a very controversial figure. He was not a successful field commander, and the emperor removed him from his post and himself assumed personal command of the Russian forces at the front. And sad to say, during the Revolution of 1917, Nicholas Nikolaevich violated his oath, took part in a conspiracy, and demanded that Nicholas II abdicate his throne. And later, while in exile, he continued to cause divisions and sow discord.
But, when speaking of the dead, we must remember more the good things about them, and there were good things. Nicholas Nikolaevich may have been a poor and unscrupulous politician, but he was also a very brave officer. That can never be taken away from him. He led a large number of charitable activities, and he donated funds for the construction of churches. Of course, he suffered greatly at being exiled from Russia. We hope that, before death, he came to recognize his sins and mistakes and repented of them.
It makes me very sad, frankly, that the Grand Duke’s remains were disturbed not for the sake of doing the right thing by him, but rather for the sake political hype and self-promotion.
The Romanovs: St. Petersburg to St. Briac Topic: Russian Imperial House
In residence at Saint-Briac-sur-Mer: Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna,
Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna, and Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich. Photo circa 1930s.
The History and Heritage Association (L'association Histoire et patrimoine du Pays) in Dinard, France in partnership with the municipality, is organizing a unique exhibition to open this summer. The exhibition entitled The Romanovs: St. Petersburg to St. Briac will reflect on the life of members of the Russian Imperial House who lived in exile at St. Briac after the 1917 Russian Revolution.
In 1920, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich moved to Saint-Briac-sur-Mer, a small picturesque village in Brittany, along with his wife Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna, and two of their three children: Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, and their youngest daughter Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna.
The exhibition is being organized by Cyrille Boulay, an historian and art expert, and one of today's leading specialists on the Romanovs and Imperial Russia. Many objects, documents, photos and paintings evoking the history of the Russian Imperial family during their years Saint-Briac-sur-Mer will be presented. The imperial couple’s home served as the heart of Russian Legitimist movement for many years.
According to the History and Heritage Association, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna will preside over the opening of the exhibition on July 3rd. She will be accompanied by her son, Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, who attended St. Anne School in St. Briac, and Saint-Briac-sur-Mer, Russia’s Ambassador to France. The exhibition The Romanovs: St. Petersburg to St. Briac will open on July 4th and run until August 30th, 2015.
On 19th December, 2014, on the feast day of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill performed the rite of Divine Blessing of the restored Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin in Sokolniki, in Moscow.
After the Divine Liturgy in the newly consecrated church, His Holiness presented the Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna with the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh Ist Class - the Church’s highest award - in recognition of her many years of work for the good of the Church and also in connection with her 60th birthday.
Her Imperial Highness noted the following in a statement issued on 23rd December, 2014:
“I was especially moved that Your Holiness chose to present the insignia of the Order to me in this year, when we celebrate the 700th anniversary of the birth of this great Abbot of the Russian Land. My Imperial ancestors, as, indeed, all our people, have always deeply revered St. Sergius, and have turned to him in prayer both in good times and in bad. In fact, one of the vitae of this great Russian saint issued from the pen of my ancestor, Empress Catherine II the Great. And for me and my son and heir, Grand Duke George of Russia, St. Sergius has been one of our most important heavenly patrons, and we feel a constant, living connection to him.
“The insignia of the Order of St Sergius, which you have awarded me, represent for me a very dear blessing and symbolize the on-going cooperation that exists between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Imperial House.”
The Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, visited Moscow 16-20 December, 2014 at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.
The Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh was established in 1988, it is the Russian Orthodox Church's highest award
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Visits St. Petersburg Topic: Russian Imperial House
HIH Grand Duke George Mikhailovich lays flowers on the grave of his grandmother, Grand Duchess Leonida who is buried
next to her husband, Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, in the Grand Ducal Mausoleum at the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral.
Photo Courtesy: Russian Imperial House
On October 2-6, 2014, H.I.H. The Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia visited St. Petersburg. His Imperial Highness arrived to take part in events marking the 100th birthday of his grandmother, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna (who was born on September 23/October 6, 1914 and died on May 10/23, 2010).
On Sunday, October 5, H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia attended the pine Liturgy in the Ss. Peter and Paul Fortress, which was served by His Grace Bishop Nazarii of Kronstadt, Vicar Bishop of the St. Petersburg Metropolia, as well as by the rector of the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Hegumen Alexander (Fedorov), Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko, and other clergy. During the Liturgy, the litany for the reposed was sung for Grand Duchess Leonida and for all the emperors, empresses, and other members of the House of Romanoff who are buried in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral and in its New Mausoleum. During the Liturgy, the Tsesarevich took Holy Communion. Then His Grace Bishop Nazarii offered a Litiya (requiem) service at the graves of Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna and her husband, Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, in the New Mausoleum. At the conclusion of the services, Bishop Nazarii gave a brief sermon on the life and service of Grand Duchess Leonida, whom he had met many times in Russia and Paris. His Grace wished the members of the Imperial House of Romanoff success and God’s help in all their endeavors for the benefit of Russia.
Addressing the Grand Duke and all those gathered together in prayer, His Grace Bishop Nazarii said: “I was so very glad today to serve the pine Liturgy in this cathedral, which is the mausoleum of all members of the House of Romanoff, and I was especially glad to welcome Grand Duke George of Russia, who has come to St. Petersburg to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of his grandmother, Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna. The House of Romanoff has done, and continues to do, many good works for Russia and its people, despite its current difficult situation. It is proper that we remember this dynasty whenever we speak about Russia. They are the heirs of all the great rulers of Russia, under whose rule the people of our country accomplished many great things.”
Grand Duke George of Russia in response noted that he was deeply moved by everyone’s prayers and remembrances of his grandmother. “She loved Russia wholeheartedly and left for all of us an example of service to the nation. We all are striving to preserve and observe traditions that were very dear to her. Thank you for coming today to remember the Grand Duchess in prayer, and also for your support, which we constantly feel and greatly appreciate,” the Grand Duke said.
After the Litiya service, the Grand Duke laid flowers and a wreath on his grandmother’s grave. He also spoke with representatives of several civic organizations of the city and with cadets of the First Border Military Corps, who happened to be touring the cathedral. The cadets were very interested in the commemorative events taking place in the mausoleum, and the Tsesarevich spoke with them about the work of Grand Duchess Leonida during her lifetime, and of the activities today of members of the House of Romanoff. He wished them all well in their service to their country, and the cadets in turn expressed their unexpected pleasure at “seeing history come to life” right before their eyes.
To read the full version of this article, and watch a VIDEO (in Russian), please click on the link below:
October 6, 2014, marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Her Imperial Highness The Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna of Russia, mother of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.
The principal organizer of the celebrations that took place in Moscow on October 10 at the Russian Orthodox University (RPU) was the national civic organization “For Faith and Fatherland.” A solemn panikhida, or requiem service, was held at the university’s Chapel of the Holy Evangelist John the Theologian under the Elm, officiated by Hieromonk Nikon (Levachev-Belavenets), the chaplain for the organization “For Faith and Fatherland.” Also serving at the panikhida was Deacon Boris Yakovenko of the Church of St. Dmitrii Donskoi in the Raevo section of Moscow.
Attending the panikhida were members of the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, including its Director and the Private Secretary of the Imperial Family, Alexander Zakatov; members of the Russian Nobility Association, including its chairman, Oleg Shcherbachev; members of “For Faith and Fatherland,” including the vice-chairman of its executive council, A. V. Kulyomin; the chairman of the Societies of Descendants of the Wars of 1812 and 1914, V. I. Aliavdin; the chief of the administrative offices of the Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation, Major-General A. V. Kirilin; the Distinguished Artist of Russia I. G. Mashkov; members of the public; and parishioners.
After the conclusion of the service and a brief sermon by Fr. Nikon, A. N. Zakatov announced the next event in the campaign “Gifts for the Grand Duchess—Charity,” which is timed to coincide with the anniversary of Grand Duchess Leonida’s birthday. In accordance with the wishes of H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, donations are being accepted to commission an Icon of Holy Martyr Anastasia the Alleviatrix of Captives for the Church of St. John the Theologian under the Elm and for the construction of a case (or kiot) for it. Those who make donations for this purpose will receive in return a commemorative certificate acknowledging their gift. A list of all donors and the amounts of their donations will be presented to Her Imperial Highness.
Later, in the university’s conference hall, a photo exhibit entitled “Preserver of the Foundations of the Dynasty,” dedicated to the life and work of Grand Duchess Leonida, was opened, and then Hieromonk Nikon formally opened the conference. First, Hieromonk Matfei (Muntianu), an instructor at RPU and the assistant rector of the chapel, welcomed all the participants and conveyed to all those gathered the warmest wishes and gratitude of Hegumen Peter (Eremeev), the Chancellor of RPU, for all that they are doing to help the church. Next, Alexander Zakatov discussed the celebrations marking the 100th birthday of Grand Duchess Leonida in St. Petersburg and the recent visit to the Northern Capital of the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia. Then followed speeches from O. V. Shcherbachev and A. V. Kulyomin, who welcomed the conference participants on behalf of the Russian Nobility Association and Societies of Descendants of the Wars of 1812 and 1914, respectively. Then the participants of the conference heard the fascinating paper by Dr. S. V. Dumin, King-of-Arms and in charge of the Office of Heraldry in H.I.H.’s Chancellery, about the Georgian Royal House.
Dr. F. V. Shelov-Koveliaev, the former First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, gave a paper on the reactions of the Russian political elite during the first official visit to Russia of Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich and Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna in November 1991. The many difficulties of the first visit of the Imperial Family to Moscow at the end of May 1992 was the topic of the next paper by Dr. V. I. Bragin, the former Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation. At the end of the session, chess Grandmaster and National Sports Laureate of the USSR L. S. Belavenets shared her impressions of meeting the members of the Imperial Family.
The conference ended with a reception and concert by stars of the Russian stage, Inna Subbotina and Iurii Filatov.
Interview of H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, with the Editor of the Newspaper Monarkhist Topic: Russian Imperial House
Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Interview of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, with the Editor of the newspaper Monarkhist, Mikhail Kulybin. Originally published in Russian on June 19th, 2014. English translation published August 5th, 2014.
To read the full interview published on Royal Russia News, please click on the link below:
Russian Imperial House Expresses Regret Over Spanish King's Abdication Topic: Russian Imperial House
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and King Juan Carlos I of Spain
The Russian Imperial House of Romanov has expressed regret over the abdication of the throne by King Juan Carlos of Spain in favor of his son, Felipe of Asturias. The head of the House of Romanov, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, lives in Spain.
"The Grand Duchess has great respect for King Juan Carlos, for everything he did for his country, and his decision. Maria Vladimirovna certainly believes that Juan Carlos will retain moral influence until the end of his days. She hopes that his son will continue the cause of his father and bring in a fresh stream of development for Spanish monarchic institutions," the House of Romanov's Chancellery Director Aleksandr Zakatov told Interfax on Monday.
"The Russian Imperial House believes that the head of the dynasty, the reigning monarch must perform his duties until the end. A partial handover of duties and powers to the heir is possible," Zakatov said.
"Maria Vladimirovna respects the position of foreign states but believes the paternalistic element of monarchy must not be abandoned. It gives a lot of advantages, primarily, the independence of the state from parties and groups. The possibility of a monarch abdicating the throne is fairly debatable: the father cannot abandon his subjects, even if he is not as strong as he used to be. Such is the Russian tradition," Zakatov said.
Head of the Russian Imperial House Expresses Concern Over Tragic Events in Ukraine Topic: Russian Imperial House
Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
From the Head of the Russian Imperial House
H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia
On the Recent Events in Ukraine
The recent tragic events in Ukraine have filled my heart with enormous grief and sorrow.
It was not long ago, while visiting the ancient city of Kiev—the cradle of Slavic statehood—and the glorious and heroic Crimea, that I was filled with joy at seeing how Ukrainians of such different ethnic backgrounds, religious convictions, and social and political views all nonetheless maintain peaceful and harmonious relations with one another.
Now, Ukraine is experiencing upheavals that can only be compared to the calamitous events of the revolution. And history shows that no revolution has brought happiness to any of the sides that take part in it.
I pray for the repose of the souls of all those who have lost their lives in these events, for the quick recovery of the injured, and for a cessation of violence.
I call upon all citizens of Ukraine, regardless of their political views, not to forget that they are all the sons and daughters of a common homeland and not to allow that common homeland to slip into a fratricidal civil war.
For the sake of the integrity of the Ukrainian State and the unity of its people, no one should in any way or under any circumstances yield to the temptation for revenge or retaliation. May all of us remember the words of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer, Emperor Nicholas II: “evil cannot vanquish evil, only love can.”
Meet the Grand Duke of Russia . . . in Brussels Topic: Russian Imperial House
HIH Grand Duke George Mikhailovich
The following article was originally published in the January 19th, 2014 edition of New Europe. The author Federico Grandesso owns the copyright presented below.
In an exclusive interview with New Europe, the Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia - the 33-year-old heir apparent to Maria Vladimirovna, the Grand Duchess of Russia - spoke about his title, the evolution of the throne and his work in Europe.
In Brussels, you just celebrated the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov. What does this important name mean for you? Does it make you feel proud?
All people need to remember their ancestors and try to be worthy of them, follow their examples and learn from their mistakes. Some people know about their ancestors more and some less. I was lucky in this sense because the history of our lineage is well known and can be traced for almost 700 years, during which more than 300 years, my ancestors were brought forward to rule Russia. Kinship with other dynasties binds us to the world’s history. This imposes a serious responsibility on me. Like any man, I strive to achieve positive results in life. However, like any man I can make mistakes. But my efforts on a number of initiatives cannot be comparable with the achievements of my ancestors. I know that people judge us very harshly and demandingly because they compare what we do to the acts of our predecessors. This is why I do my best in order to fulfil my duty to represent the honour of my homeland, my compatriots and the good name of the Romanovs, trying always to embody the strong values and traditions I have been brought up in and always trying to put my name at service for good causes.
Is there a historical member of your family that has most inspired you from a moral or professional point of view?
I never cease to admire the will and energy of Peter the Great and his willingness to sacrifice. He demanded a lot from others, but was just as demanding of himself. Even his death became a symbol of these qualities. He became fatally ill, saving a stranded soldier of a boat in the icy waters during winter. Peter I by his own example proved that any work is worthy of respect, that there is no “non-prestigious” profession because all professions serve the betterment of a society. He mastered many sciences and crafts. In my work, I try to follow his example given the fact that he did not stubbornly try to keep all on his own, and did not to assume that all that was foreign was better, with his extensive travel and learning of a bigger world he tried to combine the best of both worlds to make his country stronger. Other ancestors I could mention, Alexander Nevsky, Nicholas I and Alexander III, all these sovereigns, each in his own way, have embodied the most positive qualities of Russian monarchs.
Can you tell us about your work?
I started working in Brussels in 2001 as an assistant to the MEP and President of the Juridic Committee Ana de Palacio. I later worked with MEP Pilar Ayuso and eventually I was in the cabinet of Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transports and Energy Loyola de Palacio. I later moved to Luxembourg to continue my work in the General Directorate of the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).
In 2010, I started working for Norilsk Nickel, a Russian company and the first global producer of nickel. I started as an adviser to the general manager of the company on European related issues, and soon after I was given the responsibilities of president of Norilsk Nickel Europe in London and Brussels representing the companies interests in front of the institutions of the European Union. I also became a member of the board of directors of an association of Nickel-related companies that came together with other similar companies from across the globe to solidify our industry’s position and reputation within the European Union. I am currently pursuing a variety of initiatives - some commercial and some charitable. I am working on the creation of a public affairs, communications platform in Brussels (Romanoff & Partners) which will specialise not exclusively in representing the interests of Russian and Eastern European corporations and public interests within the European Union.
I am also working on the charitable side with the creation of The Russian Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research. It is a foundation that aims to give the opportunity to fight what is nowadays one of the greatest plagues worldwide and a major cause of mortality in Russia. We are now in the process of gathering medical experts from around the world to help us find the best way to focus our efforts. I am also hoping to give a chance to our Russian medical experts and students to be as prominent as they once were. With a little luck and God’s help we can maybe do our part to put in check this great evil of our times.
Do you have any contact with the English or the Spanish royal families?
Of course, we are in touch with our relatives. We correspond with each other regularly .We congratulate each other during the holiday seasons - there are various dynastic ceremonies. It is an integral part of the social work of the imperial house.
In Europe, there are monarchical countries that show a more modern image to the public. What do you think about this change of mentality?
A monarchy is an expression of values and traditions, but it must not remain frozen in time. Monarchs are the maximum expression of a state’s institutions and are deeply linked to the various aspects of their nation and of their societies. Each historical period has had an evolution and monarchs are the ones who in many cases have driven this process. I’m thinking about Peter the Great and his big commitment in modernising Russia, or Catherine the Great who brought into her nation the ideals of the era of the enlightenment. Considering the enormous processes of liberalisation and globalisation, I believe monarchy has evolved as well. It has become more modern though still being representative of its nations and citizens, without discarding the historical and traditional values and traditions that it embodies.