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.
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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.”
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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.
Grand Duchess Maria Attends Opening of Philip Moskvitin Exhibit Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
from left to right: Director of the Chancellery of the House of Romanov, Alexander Zakatov, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, artist Philip Moskvitin
The Dresden Art Gallery in Moscow is hosting the exhibition The Spiritual Service of the Romanov Dynasty by the contemporary Russian artist Philip Moskvitin. The exhibit which opened on November 4th is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
The exhibition includes a series of portraits and historical paintings, devoted entirely to the House of Romanov and the spiritual events in the life of Russia’s sovereigns.
The opening ceremony and the presentation of the exhibition catalog The Sanctity of the Romanovs was attended by the Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.
For more information on Philip Moskvitin, and to view his paintings, please visit his web site (in Russian):
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Visits Orthodox Russia Exhibition in Moscow Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
Photo: HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Patriarch Kirill, and Vladimir Medinsky (Russian Minister of Culture) officially open the multimedia exposition dedicated to the Romanov dynasty in Moscow today. The exhibition will be held in the Central Exhibition Hall of the Manege until November 12th.
The Head of the Russian Imperial House – the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna attended the annual exhibition titled "Orthodox Russia" that opened in Moscow on Monday.
The Grand Duchess who lives in Spain flew to Moscow especially for the opening ceremony. This year, the opening ceremony of the exhibition coincides with the Day of National Unity in Russia.
The exhibition showcases the history of the Romanov dynasty, and particularly the achievements of each monarch.
"We the Romanovs are patriots and we have always wanted Russia to be at par with other great nations of the world, and I think this will surely be achieved”- said the Grand Duchess.
According to Her Imperial Highness, the Russian Imperial House is always ready to serve the land of the forefathers.
Imperial Gala at Livadia Palace, September 22nd, 2013 Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
Last month I reported on the heirs to the exiled royal houses of Europe and Africa who gathered at the Livadia Palace, taking advantage of the invitation of the Crimean government and HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House. The following report and news footage of this historic gala reception, held on the evening of September 22nd was published by the Ukrainian Internet portal Segodnya.ua and Royal Russia.
Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the House of Romanov, in what was once the Imperial summer residence of Tsar Nicholas II, the guests were treated to a royal gala reception. Sparkling with diamonds and smiles, aristocrats from Austria and Hungary, Serbia, Albania, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Egypt and Sudan grandly walked along the red carpet lined with a guard of honour composed of Ukrainian sailors. The only one who lingered was the King of Egypt and Sudan – Fuad II, who rushed into the crowd of onlookers, smiling confusedly into the lenses of cameras. To avoid such an incident, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, with the heir Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, were accompanied arm-in-arm by Viktor Plakida, the Envoy of the President of Ukraine in Crimea.
A children’s ensemble danced “The Nutcracker” for the guests, and the Orchestra of the 36th Independent Brigade of Coastal Defense of the Ukrainian Navy amused them with an “orchestral defile”. When it sounded “God Save the Tsar” and the number “400” flared up with fireworks on the roof of the palace, the titled guests were invited into the music room for evening cocktails, where historical records of the dynasty were presented to them.
A great table was laid in the gala White Hall, where eyes went dizzy looking at all the original dishes. “Everything was cooked according to pre-revolution recipes,” one of the waiters told us. “We are treating the guests with quails stuffed with veal, patties with mushrooms, meat and cabbage, and a variety of ingenious Russian drinks. Since this event is taking place in the Crimea, we'll also be serving rack of lamb.”
At the table, the Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, who was trying not to miss a single patriotic toast, and Chairman of the Supreme Council of Crimea, Vladimir Konstantinov, were sitting next to HIH Grand Duchess Maria on either side. The Grand Duchess told us that she was greatly pleased to have gathered such dear guests under the roof of the royal palace and to be celebrating the 400th anniversary of her dynasty. She was satisfied with the reception, noting that “rigid keeping of protocol can impoverish the colour of an event,” and kept saying with a smile: “Everyone is so beautiful!”
Incidentally, the Grand Duchess maintains a very busy schedule: “Her visits are planned for the next three years,” said Prince Vadim Lopukhin. “She considered it her duty not to miss this event, and to pay tribute to the Crimea and Ukraine, with which we once lived as one state.”
Toward the end of the evening, the guests were served dessert to the music of Wagner: fruit consommé, marmalade and wine from local Crimean cellars. Visiting princesses studied the unusual vegetation of the Italian patio and had their pictures taken, which incredibly pleased the heir Georgy Mikhailovich, a titled bachelor.
Prince Lopukhin disclosed a secret – that the Empress received vegetables from Ukrainian President Yanukovych’s garden as a present. “We have been eating delicious onions and tomatoes from the garden of the head of state for the second day now,” said Vadim Olegovich. “We are very grateful to Viktor Yanukovych, as there are no real fruits and vegetables in Europe.” According to the prince, Maria Vladimirovna gladly eats ‘salo’ and ‘vareniki’ in the Crimea: “By the way, ‘borscht’ and ‘pelmeni’ are often served at her Spanish home.”
For more information and photographs of this Imperial event, please refer to the following article: