The House of Romanoff's Position
on the Restitution of Properties
Nationalized During the Soviet Era

H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.

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2012-04-06. The Director of the Chancellery of the House of Romanoff, A. N. Zakatov, comments on the erroneous statements in the press about H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia’s position on the restitution of properties that had been nationalized during the Soviet era.

On April 5, 2012, the Russian business newspaper Vzgliad (Viewpoint) carried an article entitled “Restitution is not realistic today” (see http://www.vz.ru/society/2012/4/5/573069.html#), which reports on the recent discovery in St. Petersburg of a large cache of valuable objects that once belonged to the Naryshkin noble family. The article also quotes the attorney Iu. Novolodskii and Mr. I. Artsishevskii, who offer their personal opinions on this discovery and on related issues.

The arguments presented by attorney Iu. Novolodskii can certainly be called into question from a legal standpoint since it cites and credits decrees of the totalitarian regime of the Bolsheviks, but his overall conclusion can hardly be criticized. Without a doubt, private claims to ownership of the recently-discovered treasures have no foundation in law and are utterly pointless. The treasure must be regarded as public property, regardless of the form of government in Russia.

Concerning the remarks by Mr. I. Artsishevskii reported in the article, these contain complete falsehoods about the position of the Head of the House of Romanoff, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia. Because of the many questions that have been raised by those interested in this question, we have asked the Director of the Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House, A. Zakatov, to comment on the article in Viewpoint.

-Alexander Nikolaevich, in the interview published in Viewpoint, Mr. I. Artsishevskii, speaking on behalf of the Romanoff Family Association, hinted that the Head of the House of Romanoff, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, would be in favor of the restitution of properties that had been nationalized after the 1917 Revolution, something that the members of the Romanoff Family Association has stated they do not favor. What do you have to say on this subject?

-The position of the Head of the House of Romanoff concerning the restitution of properties has many times been stated publicly and is widely known. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia has always very clearly and consistently opposed restitution, as can be found in numerous interviews that she has given (see http://www.imperialhouse.ru/rus/word/maria.html). Not only do these interviews show her clear position on the matter, they explain why she, her father Grand Duke Wladimir, and her grandfather, Emperor-in-Exile Kirill, all rejected and today continue to reject any idea of restitution.

The Grand Duchess's position has not been limited to statements to the press. She officially stated her position on the matter during a visit to the highest legal body in our government—the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. During her meeting with the justices and clerks of the Supreme Court, she specifically addressed the question of the Imperial House's position on restitution. The Head of the Dynasty stated that she is on principle against restitution, that she has never demanded or requested the return to her of any confiscated properties, nor does she advise anyone else to pursue this goal on her behalf. “There is nothing more important to me than civil harmony in my country,” the Grand Duchess said. (See http://www.imperialhouse.ru/rus/allnews/news/2011/2544.html, and http://www.imperialhouse.ru/rus/allnews/news/2011/2541.html.)

In his interview in Viewpoint, Mr. I. Artsishevskii deliberately attempted to be vague when answering a question about the position of the Head of the House of Romanoff, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, on the question of restitution. That is hardly surprising since he probably realizes that to spread slander—which is what this is—can incur serious legal consequences, both under Russian law and under international law. But it is transparently clear that Mr. I. Artsishevskii, who knows very well the actual position of Grand Duchess Maria of Russia on this matter, made these false and vague hints deliberately in order to distort the position of the Head of the House of Romanoff and thereby damage her reputation in the eyes of those who have not investigated for themselves her actual position on restitution.

Regretting very much the spiritual condition of I. Artsishevskii, and noting with bitter irony his mentioning of “honor, conscience, and dignity,” I can only express my hope that readers of this respected newspaper Viewpoint, will not be taken in and will want to find out for themselves the position of the Head of the House of Romanoff from authentic sources, and not from gossip or slanderous statements.

Source & Copyright: Российский Императорский Дом
10 April, 2012