Royal Russia Interview with Head of the Russian Imperial House Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
Earlier this year, the Head of the Russian Imperial House HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna graciously consented to an interview with Paul Gilbert, Editor of the journal Royal Russia. The interview has been completed, and will be published in the No. 11 issue of our bi-annual magazine in January 2017.
Gilbert presented Her Imperial Highness with a total of 19 questions. In her answers, Grand Duchess Maria speaks candidly on a wide range of topics, including: memories of her parents, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich and Grand Duchess Leonida; the alleged treason by her grandfather Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in the wake of the 1917 Revolution; the rehabilitation of Emperor Nicholas II in 2008; her relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church in post-Soviet Russia; the new investigation of the Ekaterinburg remains; the reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation, the situation in Ukraine - and numerous other topics on the past, present and future of the Russian Imperial House.
Royal Russia is truly honoured to present this exclusive and rare English language interview with the Head of the Russian Imperial House. Readers will see what a truly dignified, sensitive, knowledgeable, and, indeed, modern person the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna is!
Head of Russian Imperial House Attends Albanian Royal Wedding Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
Photo: Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, Elia Zaharia, Prince Leka II of Albania, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Their Imperial Highnesses Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and her son Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia were among a large gathering of more than 50 royals - from both reigning and non-reigning houses - who attended the Albanian royal wedding last week.
Photo: The Head of the Russian Imperial House Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna (lower left), and her son
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (second row, left), were among a large gathering of more than 50 royals
in Tirana for the wedding of Prince Leka II of Albania, and his fiancée Elia Zaharia.
Prince Leka, the sole descendant of Albania's last king, married popular actress Elia Zaharia in the Albanian capital of Tirana on Saturday.
It was the first wedding in Tirana of a member of the deposed royal family since 1938. Leka's grandfather Zog I, fled when Italian Fascist troops invaded Albania in 1939, a year after his wedding with Hungary's princess Geraldine Apponyi.
The royal family was forbidden to return until the fall of communism in 1990.
Photo: Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (second from left), and Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna (center)
The Head of the House of Romanoff Visits Moscow, December 16-20, 2014 Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia greets HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna during her recent visit to Moscow
On December 16-20, 2014, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, traveled to Moscow at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
It was during this visit that 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.
Click on the link below to read the summary of Grand Duchess Maria’s visit to Moscow and view the colour photographs:
The Head of the Russian Imperial House Expresses Condolences on the Passing of Nicholas Romanovich Romanoff Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
The Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House has issued a statement on the passing of Nicholas Romanovich Romanov, the oldest descendant of the Romanov Dynasty, who died on September 14th in Tuscany, Italy at the age of 92.
Alexander Zakatov, the Director of the Chancellery of the House of Romanov, told RIA Novosti earlier this week that the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, has already expressed her condolences to the family and relatives of Nicholas Romanovich and asks everyone to pray for his soul.
The following statement was issued by the Chancellery in Moscow, on Monday:
It is with deep regret that the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House has learned of the death in Tuscany (Italy) on September 14, 2014, of the oldest living relative of the Russian Imperial House, Nicholas Romanovich Romanoff. He was 92 years old.
Nicholas Romanoff was born on September 26, 1922, in Antibes (France). He was the son of His Highness Prince of the Imperial Blood Roman Petrovich (1896-1978) and his morganatic wife, Countess Praskovia Dmitrievna Sheremetev (1901-1980).
The Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and her son and Heir, H.I.H. The Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia, are deeply saddened by the passing of Nicholas Romanoff and ask all their countrymen to join them in praying for the repose of the soul of the newly-departed Nicholas.
In his interview with RIA Novosti, Zakatov noted that "Nicholas Romanovich Romanov provided charitable assistance in Russia. Together with his brother - Dmitri, Nicholas created The Romanov Fund for Russia, whose activity has always been appreciated by Her Imperial Highness. Sometimes," Zakatov continued, "he [Nicholas Romanov] made statements on different issues of public concern or about Russian history or, the history of the House of Romanov, which, to tell the truth, did not always correspond with the official position of the Russian Imperial House. But, as a private individual, Romanov was, of course, entitled to his own opinion."
Zakatov added that even though Her Imperial Highness sometimes had disagreements with Nicholas Romanov, she never stopped "treating him as a relative, with love and respect."
Nicholas Romanov was the great-great grandson of Nicholas I, the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855. Nicholas Romanovich was born in 1922 in France, and had three daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He spent his final years living in Switzerland and Italy. The charitable fund - created by Nicholas Romanov, provides help for orphanages and hospitals in Russia and the CIS.
Press Release on the Visit to Rome of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia, and on Their Imperial Highnesses’ Meeting with the Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta.
Click on the link below to read the article and view 8 colour photographs:
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna: Izvestia Interview Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, head of the Russian Imperial House, comments on Crimea, Ukraine and royal properties in Crimea during an interview on April 14th, 2014 with Izvestia. To read the full interview, click on the following link:
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna on the Situation in Ukraine and Crimea Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna at the Swallows's Nest during a visit to the Crimea
The following interview of the Head of the House of Romanoff, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna on the Situation in Ukraine and Crimea with Interfax was published in Russian on March 20th,2014.
1.Your Imperial Highness, how do you feel about Crimea becoming part of Russia? Has a historical injustice been rectified?
Over the course of many centuries, my ancestors united many disparate lands into a single Russian State. Crimea is rightfully considered one of the grand “pearls” that adorned our realm.
The Imperial House has always supported the processes of unity and centralization. But if I were simply to say that I was pleased about the return of Crimea to Russia, or that I think that this was the rectification of a historical injustice, then I would be giving a very incomplete and simplistic answer to your question.
I proceed from the firm belief that even with things the way they are today, with the demise of the territorial integrity of the former Russian Empire and USSR and the emergence of new sovereign states, there continues to exist a single spiritual and cultural civilization in this space, which unites these fraternal nations. There may be many states now, but there remains only one Fatherland, in the truest sense of the meaning of that word—one, because our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers have together offered their blood and sweat for it.
And so we can hardly welcome without reservation every acquisition of a new slice of territory. It is necessary always to consider if this specific instance will not end up damaging our common civilization, will be nothing more than a time bomb that will someday explode, will only spawn new problems in the interrelations between nations.
Each such instance is entirely unique. And if circumstances in Ukraine and Crimea were different, I would think it necessary to act more cautiously. In my address to all my Ukrainian countrymen on February 21, I called upon them to avoid violence, to resist the temptation for revenge, and to do everything within their power to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine. As we know, the Crimea was incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954 by a totalitarian regime in a completely arbitrary way, without considering the opinion of the people of Crimea or even asking them what they wanted. But it would be just as wrong today to reincorporate Crimea into Russia in the same way. One unlawful act cannot be undone by another unlawful act or by violence. If there had not arisen a very real threat to the welfare of the people of Crimea, to the life and dignity of its citizens, then I would have held to the view that Ukraine should remain within its historic borders as they had been drawn up to the present.
Unfortunately, there was a revolution in Kiev, and the new leaders have taken a series of extremist and openly vengeful steps, which have led to a split among the Ukrainian people. Extreme nationalists who control the government in Kiev began by passing a number of discriminatory and demeaning measures with regard to the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine, meeting any dissent with brutal violence. There were overt threats against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. There were anti-Semitic speeches with an undisguised Nazi undertone. I consider all this a dreadful and criminal mistake that borders on lunacy.
In the current situation, the duty of the legally elected authorities in Crimea was to protect the population from all excesses—not only at present, but also in the future. I know almost all the leaders of Crimea. They are sensible, experienced, and steady statesmen. There is no hint of extremism in them. They did not make this decision on their own authority; they organized a referendum. We know now the results of that referendum. The results are not the result of some passing gush of emotion, but are based on the entire history of Crimea, on its traditions going back many centuries. The people of Crimea have expressed their will. In a democracy, in which the supreme power constitutionally belongs to the people, there is no higher power that exists than the voice of the people.
We can say with complete confidence that the unification of Crimea with Russia was not the result of some political machinations that were dreamt up in advance by someone or other, but the logical result of historical events in Ukraine.
If the number of supporters of the unification of Crimea with Russia were only slightly more than the number of those opposing it, then the results of the referendum could be treated with some circumspection, so that a decision as important as this would not be decided by a small fraction of the vote, but would rather show the need still to form a consensus on the question. But it is evident even with the naked eye that the Crimean referendum was conducted in an atmosphere of unity, jubilation, and honestly. The majority of the people of Crimea want to return their small Homeland to being a part of Russia. It is a fait accompli.
I share the enthusiasm of the peoples of Russia and Crimea over the unity that they have achieved. At the same time, I understand the frustration and disappointment of the people of Ukraine, and I am distressed for them. I can express my feelings best with the words of the Holy Apostle Paul: I “rejoice with others when they rejoice, and I weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).
A pre-Revolutionary map of the Crimea when it was part of the Russian Empire
2.In your estimation, where should the capital of Crimea be?
I had not heard that there was any discussion about this question. From the point of view of historical symbolism, the Crimea has many glorious cities, any one of which could make a good case to be the capital of Crimea. But to transfer the seat of government from one city to another is a costly affair. The Crimea has more important tasks ahead, which must be resolved immediately for the benefit of the people. So I would suppose that the capital would remain in Simferopol. But, in any case, this will be something that will be resolved by the legally elected authorities in accordance with the will of the Crimean people.
3.How do you assess the situation in Ukraine? What do you think will be the future relations between Russia and Ukraine?
The troubles that have gripped Ukraine have brought me and my son, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia, tremendous emotional anguish. I have been to Kiev and Odessa; and not long ago George and I were in Crimea. Everywhere we saw how Ukrainians of different ethnic backgrounds, faiths, and political beliefs nonetheless lived together in peace. And this has all now completely changed! And at the moment Ukraine is, without exaggeration, being torn to pieces by revolution, with all the accompanying horrors that accompany it. I pray that all this does not develop into a full-scale fratricidal civil war.
Russia and Ukraine are fraternal countries, and it cannot be any other way. Ukraine is the cradle of the Russian state. No political forces can ever destroy the genetic, spiritual, and cultural kinship that binds together our peoples.
In any case, one cannot see the joining of Crimea to Russia as a “victory of Russia over Ukraine.” “Victory” over one’s own brothers and sisters always turns into defeat. I am certain that the crisis in relations between Russia and Ukraine will be resolved, that the spirit of confrontation will evaporate away, and that love and common sense will prevail.
4. How justified is the criticism of the West against Russia over the Crimean situation, and how justified are the sanctions? Will you be asking the royal houses of Europe to intervene to help alleviate the pressures being put on Russia?
Alas, we see unfairness and an outright double standard.
Naturally, every country defends its own interests and advances its own policies. It would be foolish to resent the fact that the USA or Russia’s other geopolitical rivals take no pleasure in Russia’s expansion and even try to hinder it.
But there are multiple examples of military intervention by the West in the internal affairs of sovereign states. The recognition of the independence of Kosovo and other similar precedents make the current position of Western governments very flimsy, and their argument utterly untenable. Even if we conceded to some degree to their logic, the question nonetheless arises: “Who are they to judge?”
Sanctions are also an unprecedented thing. Even during the “Cold War,” these kinds of sanctions were never imposed against the USSR or its leaders. And back then there really were many more occasions that might have elicited sanctions, with a totalitarian regime in power in our country that really did trample on freedom of conscience and thought and really did repress its people and had many times intervened militarily in the affairs of other countries.
One must bear in mind that sanctions are a two-edged sword. They harm the economy not only of Russia but also the economies of Europe. In the extremely complex circumstances of this global crisis, it makes no sense to play these political games.
Russia is a great country that can withstand the effects of any sanctions. To engage in threats and blackmail with Russia is counterproductive.
In the today’s political system, royal houses, even ones that reign, cannot, alas, exert any decisive influence on the policies of their countries. Therefore any appeals I might make to them about this matter would not be of any help. Of course, in communicating with my royal relatives, I will try to familiarize them with all the aspects of the problem and I will ask them to use all their influence to prevent any escalation of the conflict between Russia and Europe. Many of them were together with me and George in Crimea in September of last year, at the invitation of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, for the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanoff. They met with the Speaker of the Supreme Council, Vladimir Konstantinov, and with other Crimean leaders, and they know firsthand about the life of the people of Crimea. But more than anything else, I am counting on the common sense of Western politicians and on the expression of public opinion among the peoples of Western countries. Everyone would suffer from the resumption of the “Cold War,” and, possibly, the losses and damages to Russia would be less than for others.
The Visit of the Head of the Romanov Dynasty to America Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
On December 9-14, 2013, Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna made a visit to the United States of America on the occasion of the 400 th anniversary of the end of the Time of Troubles, the reestablishment of the Russian Sovereignty and the founding of the Romanov Dynasty. Her Imperial Highness was invited by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Her visit coincided with the celebration of the feast day of Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign.”
Click on the link below to read the full article and view the colour photographs;
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Visits New York Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna addressing Metropolitan Hilarion at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City.
Photo Credit: Vasili Sushko/VOR
A bit of Russian royalty is in New York this week. The Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, who also happens to be the great-great granddaughter of Russian Tsar Alexander II, is spending the week in New York as part of an international tour commemorating the 400-year anniversary of Romanov family.
Voice of Russia correspondent Vasili Sushko had a chance to speak with HIH on Tuesday during a church ceremony in New York.
Before communism came to be in the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire was ruled by the Romanov dynasty, which included the likes of Catherine the Great, Alexander II, Nicholas II and many more. What may come as a surprise to some is that even today, a time when Russia is democratically ruled with a democratically elected president and parliament, there still remains an Imperial Family. The head of that family is the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, who is the great-great granddaughter of Alexander II, the former emperor of Russia. HIH is currently touring the world as part of a commemoration of the 400-year anniversary since her family took power, and the end of an era referred to as the time of troubles. HIH attended a church service at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City, after which she spoke to Voice of Russia about her visit, the first official visit to New York City in over four decades.
“We are commemorating the 400th anniversary of the end of the time of troubles, which I think is a common anniversary for any Russian person because we commemorate those that made it possible to remain Russian and keep to our traditions and that’s what I think is so important in this anniversary in this time in age, that we do remember to keep all united and keep our traditions” – Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Despite being the head of the Russian Imperial Family, the Grand Duchess has no real power, yet her role throughout Russia and the rest of the world is still one of great importance. In the Grand Duchess’ own words, her role is similar to that of a mother figure, with the simple goal of uniting the people of Russia.
“My family and myself, what we’d like is to be like a mother or father figure that united everybody and sort of keeps one’s traditions, passes them on, and trying to show that we can all live together if we respect each other and we give out love and forgiveness for many things.” – Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
The rule of the Romanov family came to an abrupt end at the beginning of the 20th century, a time when Bolsheviks such as Vladimir Lenin rose to power. Many of the remaining Romanov family members were killed or left to live in exile. During the Soviet era, what used to be basic human rights such as freedom of religion seized to exist. For churchgoers like Lidia Pripalova, who came from Belarus to the United States in 2005, it is difficult to forget those difficult times.
“There was no church in our village, no priests. The only church was six kilometers from my native village. My mom, when I was in middle school or high school, was not allowed to take the children to the church because at school this could create some problems.” - Lidia Pripalova
Those times, Pripalova said she hopes to forget. Standing in the same church decades later alongside the Grand Duchess, is a new memory that will perhaps make forgetting the old memories of the Soviet Union somewhat easier.
“This is a memory we need and we need big events like today’s event. We need these people to be present and to say something like they did today. So people could see it in reality, not only in photos, not only to read it in books, but to see it in reality.” - Lidia Pripalova
The Grand Duchess arrived in New York on Monday and will partake in numerous events throughout the rest of the week. Rev. Serafim Gan of Sea Cliff, N.Y. explained most of what her visit will entail.
“She’ll be visiting churches, monasteries in the local area. Some nursing homes and hospitals to visit the sick and see how the sick Russian immigrants are being taken care of here in the United States. Also, she’ll be visiting with representatives of various patriotic organizations.” – Rev. Serafim Gan
The Grand Duchess is set to depart New York City on Saturday.