Christmas and New Year Greetings from the Head of the Imperial House



The Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia extend their heartfelt thanks to all their countrymen and to friends of Russia around the world who have sent holiday greetings, and likewise they in return send greetings for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 2018, wishing everyone good health, happiness, spiritual strength, and God's help in all their endeavours.

Grand Duchess Maria also warmly thanks all those who have sent birthday greetings.

The Grand Duchess and the Grand Duke express their fervent hope that, in commemorating in the coming year the 100th anniversary of the martyrdoms of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, of other executed members of the Imperial House of Russia, of their loyal servants, and of all victims of revolutionary terror and violence, we will constantly call to mind the immortal words of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer Emperor Nicholas II, uttered by him while under arrest:   “Evil will never be defeated by evil.  Only love can defeat evil.”

On July 11, 1929, the Head of the House of Romanoff, Emperor-in-Exile Kirill Vladimirovich, together with the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky), established the custom of officially commemorating the memory of the martyred Imperial Family, declaring July 4/17, the day of the regicide, a “Day of Universal Sorrow of the Russian People.”

After the Holy Church glorified the murdered members of the Imperial Family as saints, this Day of Sorrow was transformed into a Church Feast Day, which is celebrated with a joyful and happy feeling, as are the Feast Days of other martyrs and passion-bearers of previous eras, the faithful fervently believing that, by their sufferings for Christ, the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers have been granted victory over godlessness, hatred, and falsehood, and have been given the gift to intercede for Russia before the very Throne of our Lord.



Глава Российского Императорского Дома Е.И.В. Государыня Великая Княгиня Мария Владимировна и Е.И.В. Государь Наследник Цесаревич и Великий Князь Георгий Михайлович сердечно благодарят всех соотечественников и иностранных друзей России, направившим им поздравления, и со своей стороны поздравляют их с Рождеством Христовым и Новым 2018 Годом, желая всем здоровья, счастья, и помощи Божией во всех благих делах.

Великая Княгиня Мария Владимировна также благодарит всех, приславших поздравления ко Дню её рождения.

Государыня и Цесаревич выражают глубокое убеждение, что отмечая в этом году 100-летие мученического подвига Святых Царственных Страстотерпцев, других казнённых членов Российского Императорского Дома, их верных служителей и всех жертв революционного террора и насилия, мы должны неизменно помнить бессмертные слова св. Императора Николая II, переданные им из заключения: "НЕ ЗЛО ПОБЕДИТ ЗЛО, А ТОЛЬКО ЛЮБОВЬ".

11 июля 1929 года  Глава Дома Романовых в изгнании Государь Император Кирилл Владимирович вместе с Первоиерархом Русской Православной Церкви Заграницей Митрополитом Антонием (Храповицким) положил начало официальному почитанию памяти замученной Царской Семьи, объявив день цареубийства 4/17 июля "Днем всеобщей скорби русских людей". 

После прославления Святой Церковью убиенных членов Императорской Фамилии в лике святых этот день из "Дня скорби" превратился в Праздник, который подобает отмечать со светлым и радостным чувством, как и дни памяти мучеников и страстотерпцев прежних эпох, свято веря, что своими страданиями за Христа они одержали победу над безбожием, ненавистью и ложью и получили дар предстательства за Россию у Престола Господня.


1924: "Who Shall Be The Emperor of Russia?"

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Below is the link to the text of an extremely rare legitimist booklet published in English in 1924 by the Union of Russian Legitimist Monarchists.  Among other things, it contains a declaration by Grand Duke Kirill as Guardian of the Russian Throne.  The declaration is dated 23 March/5 April 1924, some five months before Grand Duke Kirill announced on 31 August 1924 that, there then being no doubt that Emperor Nicholas II and his son had been killed, he had duly succeeded as Emperor of Russia in exile.  One interesting aspect of Grand Duke Kirill's declaration is its pointed criticism of the former commander of the Russian Army, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, for his anti-legitimism, which sowed doubt and division within the emigration.  This historical text will be of interest to students of the Russian legitimist movement in the years immediately after the White defeat in the Civil War.

For the full text, CLICK HERE

Head of the Russian Imperial House Attends the Funeral of King Michael of Romania

Vechnaya Pamyat! (Eternal Memory!)

HM King Michael of Romania!

Condolences to HM Queen Margareta,

Custodian of the Crown of Romania!

The "Steel Crown" of the King of Romania rests upon the catafalque during the funeral ceremonies in Bucharest.

The "Steel Crown" of the King of Romania rests upon the catafalque during the funeral ceremonies in Bucharest.

The Russian Legitimist notes with sadness and enormous respect the passing in December 2017 at age 96 of His Majesty King Michael of Romania, Orthodox monarch and believer, patriot, courageous anti-fascist, committed anti-communist, and devoted husband and father.  His role in European history spanned nearly a century – he first became King in 1927, and he last addressed the Romanian Parliament in October 2011, at the time of his 90th birthday.  He was one of the two last living heads of state from World War II, both Orthodox kings, the other being His Majesty King Simeon of Bulgaria.

First row, left to right:  Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, the Prince of Wales, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Queen Silvia of Sweden and (ear showing) King Carl Gustaf of Sweden.   (Reigning royal houses, plus somebody who had once reigned:  Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.) Second row, left to right:  The heads of dynasties that no longer reign:  the head of the Russian Imperial House (Grand Duchess Maria), the head of the Austrian-Hungarian Imperial House (Archduke Karl), the head of the Portuguese Royal House (Infante Dom Duarte), the Crown Princess of Serbia, and the head of the Serbian Royal House (Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia).

First row, left to right:  Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, the Prince of Wales, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Queen Silvia of Sweden and (ear showing) King Carl Gustaf of Sweden.   (Reigning royal houses, plus somebody who had once reigned:  Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.)

Second row, left to right:  The heads of dynasties that no longer reign:  the head of the Russian Imperial House (Grand Duchess Maria), the head of the Austrian-Hungarian Imperial House (Archduke Karl), the head of the Portuguese Royal House (Infante Dom Duarte), the Crown Princess of Serbia, and the head of the Serbian Royal House (Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia).

The sisters, Princess Marie and Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, later Queen of Romania and Russian Empress in Exile.

The sisters, Princess Marie and Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, later Queen of Romania and Russian Empress in Exile.

The close ties between the Romanian Royal House and the Russian Imperial House stretch back generations.  Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) (born Princess Marie of Edinburgh, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland) was King Michael’s grandmother.  As she was a granddaughter of both Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Queen Victoria, Michael’s descent from Queen Marie linked him to both the Russian and British dynasties.


Queen Marie of Romania was closely connected with three successive heads of the Russian dynasty:  she was the first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II, the sister-in-law of his successor Grand Duke-Emperor Kirill of Russia, and the beloved aunt of the latter’s son and successor Grand Duke Wladimir of Russia. 

The young first cousins once removed, Prince Michael of Romania and Grand Duke Wladimir of Russia.  

The young first cousins once removed, Prince Michael of Romania and Grand Duke Wladimir of Russia.


Kirill’s consort, Grand Duchess-Empress Victoria Feodorovna (1876-1936) (born Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland) was the inseparable lifelong best friend of her sister, Queen Marie.  Victoria Feodorovna’s son, Grand Duke Wladimir, Head of the Russian Imperial House from 1938 to 1992, was a first cousin of King Carol II of Romania.  Carol II’s son King Michael and Wladimir’s daughter Grand Duchess Maria of Russia were second cousins.

King Michael of Romania and Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

King Michael of Romania and Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

Grand Duchess Maria participated in the joyous 90th birthday celebrations for His Majesty King Michael in Bucharest in 2011.  On December 16, 2017, she had the sad duty, as Head of the Russian Imperial House, to be again in Bucharest to attend the funeral of and pay her respects to her recently departed cousin.

Upon the death of King Michael, his eldest daughter Crown Princess Margareta succeeded as head of the Romanian dynasty, with the title and style of Her Majesty Queen Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania.  This is in accordance with the revisions to the Romanian dynastic laws implemented by King Michael in 2007.  In instituting these new house laws, King Michael was certainly influenced by the example of his great-uncle Kirill, who in 1924 took the successive titles of Guardian of the Throne of Russia and then Emperor of Russia, with the predicate of Majesty.  At the same time, Kirill’s chancellery announced that he would only use the imperial title among fellow Russians but would continue to use his grand ducal title among non-Russians.

The Royal Guests at the funeral of HM King Michael of Romania,

The Royal Guests at the funeral of HM King Michael of Romania,

Eternal Memory!  May His Majesty King Michael rest in peace.

The Russian Legitimist responds to a criticism of Grand Duchess Maria's call for national reconciliation in Russia

Paul "Kulikovsky"

Paul "Kulikovsky"

On November 9, 2017, Interfax "North West" carried an article about Mr. Paul Kulikovsky, whose great-grandmother was a member of the Russian Imperial House.  The article quoted Mr. Kulikovsky as stating that descendants of the Romanov family should not participate in any events marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution. 

The article also referred to Mr. Kulikovsky as “the representative of the Romanov family.” 

Mr. Kulikovsky is entitled to his point of view, but surely he only represents himself.  He does not even speak on behalf of the Kulikovsky family, let alone the Romanov family.

Mr. Kulikovsky’s comments may have been meant as a criticism of the statement calling for national reconciliation that the Grand Duchess Maria, Head of the Russian Imperial House, recently issued.  The Grand Duchess Maria has for many years stressed the importance of national reconciliation within Russia. Since succeeding as head of the Russian dynasty in 1992, the Grand Duchess has also made numerous trips to countries that once formed part of the Russian Empire.  During her visits, she has emphasized the historical and cultural ties that link these many countries to Russia.  Her comments have always been non-political and very much in line with the message of the Russian Orthodox Church.  


The efforts of the Grand Duchess to further reconciliation are in some ways similar to the efforts of her cousin Queen Elizabeth II to build ties between Great Britain and its former colonies. One thinks, for example, of the wreath which, during her state visit to Ireland in 2011, Her Majesty placed at the memorial for those who had fought against Britain for Irish independence.

HIH Grand Duchess Maria at the pannikhida for all victims of the Revolution and litiya for the Imperial Family

HIH Grand Duchess Maria at the pannikhida for all victims of the Revolution and litiya for the Imperial Family

The Russian Legitimist believes that the Head of the Russian Imperial House has struck exactly the right note in her recent statement about reconciliation.  She obviously has every right to speak on behalf of the dynasty, because she is its head.  For his part, Mr. Kulikovsky apparently said that “we” do not intend to use the anniversary “to draw attention to our personalities.”  It is unclear to whom his pronoun “we” refers.  It cannot include the Grand Duchess Maria, who (we trust) has no need of his advice.  And it cannot include the Romanov family, because he is neither a member of this family nor is he closely related to it. 

Maybe it is the “royal we”.  If so, his using it would inevitably draw attention to his personality, something he doth protest so much against.






The Head of the Russian Imperial House Makes a Statement on the Centennial of the Revolution

from the Head of the Imperial House of Russia,
H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia,
on the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917

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Dear Countrymen,

The year of the 100th anniversary of the Revolution of 1917 is drawing to a close.

As we approached the date of this anniversary, discussions in the public about the dramatic events of a century ago have increased and intensified. In 2017, the discussion of the Revolution and its consequences assumed a particularly emotional character. Along with an effort to provide an accurate and fair assessment of what happened in Russia in the 20th century, sometimes, unfortunately, there were also attempts to open old wounds and to sow again the seeds of dissension among our people.

Our understanding of any historical period should be based not on one or another party ideology, but on the system of spiritual and moral values that took shape during the long course of Russian history. If we truly want to understand the reasons and results of the internal troubles and bloody battles in our country’s history, it is all the more important for us to make the effort to see beyond one or the other side in the conflict.

The Russian Imperial House, by God’s grace, never took part in the fratricidal Russian Civil War. But it bears its own measure of guilt for the fact that the Revolution took place at all in Russia. And it had to go through much the same expiatory sufferings that millions of its countrymen had to endure. For the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer Emperor Nicholas II, his family, and other members of the dynasty who remained in Russia, this meant martyrdom, and for those who ended up abroad, this meant the harsh bitterness of separation from their homeland, grief for their relatives and friends who perished or disappeared without word, and privation and poverty.

So, indeed, our dynasty has much for which it must repent, and, at the same time, one can also see the injustice and cruelty that were delivered to it and to it supporters and friends.

But I, not in any way wanting, even inadvertently, to be among those who fan the flames of the Civil War, have decided to issue this Address on the 100th anniversary of the Revolution, not on some other day connected to the outbreak of violence and the tragedies of that troubled time, the memory of which casts a long shadow over our consciousness, but on November 4, when all citizens of Russia celebrate the Day of National Unity: a day when millions of Orthodox faithful raise their prayers to the Mother of God on the feast day of Her holy and miracle-working Kazan Icon; a day when we all recall glorious and unifying events of our national history—the victory of the Volunteer Army of Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitrii Pozharsky in 1612, and the assumption by Peter I the Great of the title of Emperor in 1721.

On this bright holiday, dedicated to peace and harmony, I want to share with you my feelings that issue not only from my head but, before all else, from my heart.

One cannot change the past. But it is within our power to learn from the mistakes of the past and to do everything we can so that our nation never again is divided into irreconcilable warring sides. 

First, we all, regardless of the differences in our views, must recognize that the Revolution was a shared tragedy. Was there an alternative to revolution? Who is most responsible for the Revolution? Why did one side win and the other side lose? Were there more losses or achievements for Russia as a result of the Revolution? These are all questions that will be asked and debated for a long time. But one can never see it as a good thing when children kill their parents, and when parents kill their children, and when brother and sister exterminate each other.

The Revolution had political, social, and economic causes. However, the main cause of the Revolution, I believe, was a profound spiritual crisis. At that time, our people and a significant part of all humanity were disillusioned with the entire traditional system of values—not only with the traditional values in monarchy, but those in religion, the family, and in many other spheres of our lives.

The historical state structure of Russia was destroyed not because it had powerful opponents (though these opponents did play a role in events), but largely because its defenders were too indifferent and divided.

If the entire nation had been united and resolute, and if its leaders had had firm principles and had acted for the sake of the common good, no domestic revolutionaries or foreign powers would have been able to rock the stability of the government. 

It should be acknowledged that the élite in the Russian Empire were unable at that time to find an adequate and acceptable answer to the aspirations of the people for reform. The Revolution, unfortunately, was by no means an accident caused by some momentary convergence of circumstances, but was an inevitable catastrophe, which happened as a result of a combination of historical causes, which were building over many years.

The Revolution developed in Russia in progressive stages, even with all the ethnic diversity in the Empire. The opposition and moderate revolutionaries, who had removed the Emperor from his throne in February 1917, were unable to hold on to power. They plunged the nation into chaos, and in October they were in turn replaced by the most radical of the revolutionary parties, which had promised to fulfill all the people’s hopes and aspirations, and embarked on a grandiose experiment to erect a fundamentally new world order. 

This experiment was founded on the utopian idea of a perfectly just and equal society, a kind of “earthly paradise.” But no matter how outwardly beautiful and appealing such ideas are, they are utterly unattainable, and attempts to realize them in practice always turn to disappointment and disaster.

That is precisely what happened in Russia. The hopes for a world-wide revolution were never realized, and the attempt to create communism in one country was also a failure. The Communist regime was compelled to act in conditions that were determined by life itself, not by armchair philosophies and party theories. 

In the Soviet period, we observe a tension between two basic realities: the implementation of a totalitarian, materialistic ideology, and the attempt to resolve the kinds of real and practical problems that any government of any political persuasion confronts. These two realities in their dialectical relationship and in their contradictions determined more than anything else the way of life of the people of our country over the course of more than seven decades. 

On the one hand, party dogma and the implementation of that dogma by the government in the USSR were woven into a complex knot, and it is impossible to tease them apart. On the other hand, these were nonetheless two very different factors working in two very different directions—one artificial and imposed from above, the other organic and issuing from the necessities of the life of the people.

The Heads of our House in exile certainly understood the distinction between these two factors.

My grandfather, Emperor-in-Exile Kirill Vladimirovich, as early as 1922 began to formulate a model for national reconciliation, founded on the healing of the antagonism that existed between the Reds and the Whites. Addressing directly the participants on both sides of the Russian Civil War, he insisted that “there are not two Russian armies! On both sides of the front lines there is only a single Russian Army, selflessly devoted to Russia, to its centuries-old foundations, and to its time-honoured objectives. It will save our much-suffering Homeland.”

Emperor-in-Exile Kirill Vladimirovich categorically rejected the idea of any White revanche, and sharply condemned the plan of many leaders of the emigration to return to Russia with the help of foreigners’ bayonets. He called for close monitoring of events in Soviet Russia and for distinguishing between those developments there that were incompatible with the historical path of our homeland, and those that were the fruit of the people’s own labors. “It is not necessary to destroy institutions that have evolved organically,” he once said. “It is necessary to reject only those that corrupt the human soul.” 

My father, Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, thought the same way. While a consistent critic of the atheistic ideology and totalitarian form of government of the Communist regime, he at the same time saw the citizens of the USSR as brothers and sisters. He praised their courage and self-sacrifice and he lauded their achievements in science and culture.

The defense of the country against enslavement during the Second World War; the launching of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin; the important innovations and inventions of Soviet scientists and engineers, the brilliant works of Soviet writers, poets, playwrights, artists, composers, actors, and filmmakers; the triumphs of Soviet athletes—all this was and remains for the Imperial House an enormous source of pride in our country.
When fundamental changes began to come to the USSR in the late 1980s, my father stated: “I always in every way support the constructive and positive aspirations of our countrymen and will resolutely reject all destructive actions, even if they come from those who declare their loyalty to our country’s great past.”
In these last words a clear warning is sounded against those who are committed to revanchism and fanaticism, those who, whilst making insane declarations, pursue their own narrow, clannish interests. 

For those who truly love their country—regardless of their religious, ethnic, social, or political affiliations—atheism, totalitarianism, terroristic methods in government and mass repression, and barbaric assaults on the nation’s historical and cultural legacies can never be acceptable. These things are Evil, in whatever guise or under whatever slogans they may appear.

In post-revolutionary Russia, all this unfortunately took place. But there was also unparalleled heroism and unrivaled energy, and great heights of scientific and artistic achievement.  
Alongside the ruthless and cruel methods of governing the society and economy of the country, which unnecessarily entailed a great number of victims, the history of the USSR also includes positive efforts that addressed and resolved many social and economic problems, efforts that could and should be thought about as we look at the similar problems we face today.

Thus it would in no way be just to try to erase the Soviet era from the history of Russia or to depict it entirely in dark tones.
“White” revanchism, which emerged after the fall of the USSR, is as unacceptable as “Red” revanchism, or any other kind of revanchism. All revanchism produces a “pendulum effect,” inevitably generating a powerful resistance against it and, sooner or later, a backlash. If, in our struggle with one extreme we take the side of the other, we have not made things any better in the end, but have only exacerbated the situation.
The strength and well-being of the people are inconceivable without inner peace and solidarity, and peace and solidarity are unattainable without a spirit of mutual forgiveness, patience, and respect.

It is pointless to try to seek peace and create unity on the basis of a falsified history, by erasing or deliberately distorting the facts. We must not forget the sins and mistakes of our past, so that we may not repeat them. All crimes, no matter who committed them, must be condemned.

But we must also not resort to double standards, forgiving ourselves for doing precisely that for which we brand others. If we find some excuse or other for our actions, then we must apply the same criteria to the actions of our opponents.
It would be wrong to believe that national reconciliation can result from everyone adopting one particular point of view. Unanimity of thought is never a feasible goal anyway, and even the outward appearance of unanimity can be achieved only through force and violence.

True unity comes from compromise precisely between peoples with very different views and principles, and who maintain those views and principles but nonetheless respect the other side and are prepared to work together with them on the basis of the shared foundations of love of the country and conscientious service to it.

It is vitally important to see, first of all, the good, and not the bad, in others, and to find in him, before all else, a friend, not an enemy, paying attention not to those things that separate us, but those things that bring us together.

For our own well-being and for that of future generations, we must not only forgive those who have caused us pain, but also ask them for forgiveness.

Repentence is not a humiliating or demeaning thing, but something that lifts us up and cleanses. But it is unreasonable and sinful to demand repentance from others, proudly seeing ourselves as sinless judges. Only by giving an example ourselves by our own repentance can we show those around us the salvific meaning of true repentence.

If we all at least tried to act in accordance with this attitude toward life, Russia would not only overcome the sad consequences of the upheavals of the 20th century, but would surely acquire new strength and vigour, and would flourish again in all its spiritual, political, and cultural greatness.

Today, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, commemoration services are being held for all the victims of the troubles that have befallen our country. For those who fell in battle, regardless of what side of the front they fell on. For those who were tortured and executed in prisons. For those who died because of unbearable living conditions, forced on them by ruthless social experiments. For those who died in exile, far away from their homeland.

Among them were people on the Left and on the Right, people of all religions, nationalities, classes, and estates. There were ardent resisters to the government and fierce and convinced supporters of it. The majority were good, honest, and sincere people, striving for Truth, though they understood Truth differently and sometimes, to be sure, had very incompatible positions. I like to believe that their striving for Truth in and of itself, and the suffering that they all endured, opened for them, even in their last moments of life, the light of Truth, reconciled them with History, and opened to them Eternal Life before the face of God.

Remembering them all together, praying for the remission of their sins, voluntary and involuntary, we will be better able to relate dispassionately to the past and more deeply feel that which draws us together in the present.

Let us be guided by the immortal words of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer Emperor Nicholas II, which were conveyed by his daughter, the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, not long before his execution: “Evil will not defeat Evil. Only Love will defeat Evil.”

I and my son and heir, Grand Duke George of Russia, ask you all to accept our wishes for health, long life, family happiness, zeal in serving our country, strength in all your endeavors, prosperity, success in upholding our laws, and, most importantly, faith, hope, love, and peace of spirit, to you and emanating from you, to all that surrounds you.

God bless you! 

(The original is signed by Her Imperial Highness’s own hand:)


Madrid, October 22/November 4, 2017
Feast Day of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God
Day of National Unity

в связи со 100-летием Революции 1917 года


Дорогие Соотечественники!

Завершается год 100-летия Революции 1917 года.

По мере приближения к этой дате всё активнее становилось обсуждение драматических событий вековой давности. В 2017 году дискуссия о Революции и её плодах приобрела особенно острый характер. Наряду со стремлением дать правдивую и справедливую оценку тому, что произошло с Россией в ХХ веке, иногда, к сожалению, имеют место попытки разбередить старые раны и вновь посеять в нашем народе семена противостояния.

Осмысление любого исторического этапа должно основываться не на той или иной партийной идеологии, а на системе духовных и нравственных ценностей, созданной за всё время существования всероссийской цивилизации. Если же мы искренно желаем понять причины и следствия внутренних смут и кровопролитных схваток, нам тем более необходимо сделать над собой усилие и стать выше позиции одной из сторон конфликта.

Российский Императорский Дом, по милости Божией, не участвовал в братоубийственной Гражданской войне. Но он несёт свою долю вины за то, что в России свершилась Революция. И ему пришлось пройти через искупительные страдания, постигшие миллионы соотечественников. Для св. Императора Николая II Страстотерпца, его семьи и других членов династии, оставшихся в России, это была мученическая смерть. А для тех, кто оказался за рубежом — горечь разлуки с Родиной, боль за погибших и пропавших без вести родных и друзей, нужда.

Таким образом, нашей династии есть, за что каяться, и, в то же время, есть, в чём видеть жестокость и несправедливость по отношению к себе и к дорогим нам людям.

Но я, не желая ни в коем случае, даже невольно, оказаться в числе тех, кто, продолжает раздувать угли Гражданской войны, решила обратиться к вам с посланием, посвящённым 100-летию Революции, не в тот или иной день, связанный со вспышками насилия и трагедиями смутной поры, память о которых омрачает сознание, а 4 ноября, когда все граждане России отмечают День Народного Единства. Когда миллионы православных верующих возносят молитвы Божией Матери в связи с празднованием, посвященным Её Казанской чудотворной иконе. Когда мы вспоминаем славные и объединяющие события великой российской истории — победу Ополчения К. Минина и князя Д. Пожарского в 1612 году и принятие Императорского титула Петром I Великим в 1721 году.

В этот светлый праздник, посвященный миру и согласию, я хочу поделиться с вами мыслями, которые идут не только от ума, но, прежде всего, от моего сердца.

Прошлое невозможно изменить. Но в наших силах извлечь уроки из ошибок и сделать всё, от нас зависящее, чтобы наш народ никогда впредь не оказался разделенным на непримиримые противоборствующие части.

В первую очередь мы все, независимо от существующих различий во взглядах, должны признать, что Революция — это общая беда. Была ли у неё альтернатива или нет, кто в большей степени несёт за неё ответственность, за счет чего одна сторона одолела другую, каково соотношение бедствий и достижений в послереволюционный период — это вопросы для нескончаемой полемики. Но невозможно считать благом, когда дети убивают родителей, а родители — детей, когда истребляют друг друга братья и сестры.

У Революции были причины политического, социального и экономического характера. Однако главной причиной явился глубокий духовный кризис. В те времена наш народ и значительная часть человечества переживали разочарование во всей традиционной системе ценностей — не только в монархии, но и в религии, и в семье, и во многих других устоях.

Исторический государственный строй России сокрушился не потому, что у него были сильные противники (хотя и это имело место), но в большей степени по причине того, что у него оказались маловерные и разобщенные защитники.

Если весь народ един и сплочён, а его лидеры имеют твёрдые принципы и действуют ради общего блага, никакие внутренние разрушители и внешние конкуренты не способны поколебать стабильность государства.

Следует признать, что элита Российской империи не смогла в тот момент найти удовлетворительный ответ на стремление нации к обновлению. Революция, к сожалению, была отнюдь не случайностью, вызванной каким-то сиюминутным стечением обстоятельств, а неизбежной катастрофой, случившейся вследствие совокупности исторических причин, накопившихся за долгие годы.

Развитие революционного процесса в России, при всех национальных особенностях, проходило закономерные стадии. Оппозиционеры и умеренные революционеры, отстранившие от власти Императора в феврале 1917 года, не могли удержать бразды правления. Они ввергли страну в хаос, и им на смену в октябре пришла наиболее радикальная революционная партия, обещавшая народу воплотить все его чаяния и приступившая к грандиозному эксперименту по установлению принципиально нового мироустройства.

Этот эксперимент был основан на утопической идее об абсолютно справедливом обществе всеобщего благоденствия, некоем «земном рае». Сколь бы ни были внешне красивыми и привлекательными такого рода идеи, они фантастичны. И попытки их осуществления на практике всегда оборачиваются несчастьями.

Так произошло и в России. Надежды на мировую революцию не сбылись, и построение коммунизма в отдельно взятой стране также не удалось. Коммунистическому режиму пришлось действовать в тех реалиях, которые определялись жизнью, а не кабинетными философиями и партийными теориями.

В Советской эпохе мы наблюдаем две основных составляющих: господство тоталитарной материалистической идеологии и решение задач, присущих любому государству. Эти компоненты в их диалектической связи и противоречиях определяли бытие нашей Родины на протяжении свыше семи десятков лет.

С одной стороны, партийная догма и осуществление управления государством в СССР переплелись в сложнейшие узлы, и разделить их невозможно. Но с другой стороны, это всё равно были два разных вектора — один искусственный и насаждаемый сверху, а другой органичный и происходящий из жизненных потребностей народа.

Различение этих векторов неизменно присутствовало в сознании Глав нашего Дома в изгнании.

Мой дед Государь Кирилл Владимирович еще в 1922 году начал формулировать концепцию национального примирения, основанную на преодолении красно-белого антагонизма. Обращаясь к непосредственным участникам Гражданской войны с обеих сторон, он убеждал их: «Нет двух Русских армий! Имеется по обе стороны рубежа Российского единая Русская Армия, беззаветно преданная России, ее вековым устоям, ее исконным целям. Она спасет нашу многострадальную Родину».

Государь категорически отвергал идею Белого реванша, резко осуждал намерения ряда лидеров эмиграции вернуться в Россию, опираясь на иностранные штыки, призывал внимательно следить за происходящим в Советской России и научиться отделять то, что несовместимо с историческим путем нашей Родины, от плодов народного труда. «Не нужно уничтожать никаких учреждений, жизнью вызванных, — говорил он, — но необходимо отвернуться от тех из них, которые оскверняют душу человеческую».

Таких же убеждений придерживался мой отец Государь Владимир Кириллович. Будучи последовательным критиком атеистической идеологии и тоталитарной практики коммунистического режима, он видел в гражданах СССР братьев и сестёр, восхищался их мужеством и самоотверженными усилиями, радовался успехам в сфере науки и культуры.

Защита страны от порабощения в годы Великой Отечественной войны 1941-1945 гг., полёт в Космос Юрия Гагарина, выдающиеся изобретения советских ученых и инженеров, яркие произведения советских писателей, поэтов, драматургов, художников, композиторов, театральных деятелей и кинематографистов, триумфы советских спортсменов были и остаются для Императорского Дома предметом гордости за свою Родину.

Когда в СССР во второй половине 1980-х годов начали происходить кардинальные перемены, мой отец заявил: «Я всегда буду всячески способствовать всем созидательным стремлениям наших соотечественников и решительно отвергать все разрушительные выступления, даже если они исходят от людей, заявляющих о своей верности нашему великому прошлому».

В последних словах звучит предостережение тем, кто привержен реваншизму и фанатизму, тем, кто прикрываясь пафосными декларациями преследует политиканские узко-клановые интересы.

Для людей, истинно любящих Родину, независимо от их религиозной, национальной, социальной и партийной принадлежности, не могут быть приемлемыми богоборчество, тоталитаризм, террористические методы управления и массовые репрессии, варварство в отношении историко-культурного наследия. Эти явления суть Зло, в каком бы обличии и под какими бы лозунгами они ни существовали.

В послереволюционной России всё это, к сожалению, имело место. Но были и беспримерный героизм, и непревзойденный трудовой энтузиазм, и высокий полёт научной и творческой мысли. Наряду с безжалостными и жестокими методами управления обществом и хозяйством страны, повлекшими неоправданно большое количество жертв, в истории СССР имеется и положительный опыт решения социально-экономических проблем, который может и должен быть востребован.

Посему ни в коем случае недопустимо пытаться вычеркнуть Советскую эпоху из истории России или изображать её исключительно в чёрных тонах.

«Белый» реванш, иллюзия которого появилась после распада СССР, столь же неприемлем, сколь и «красный» реванш, и какой бы ни было иной. Любой реваншизм порождает «эффект маятника», неизбежно вызывает мощное сопротивление и обязательно, рано или поздно, обратную реакцию. Если в борьбе с одними крайностями впадать в противоположные, мы не исправим, а лишь усугубим положение.

Сила народа немыслима без внутреннего мира и солидарности, а мир и солидарность достижимы только в духе взаимных прощения, терпения и уважения.

Неверно добиваться примирения и созидать единство на фальсификациях истории, на замалчивании или сознательном искажении фактов. Грехи и ошибки нельзя забывать, чтобы не повторить их вновь. Все преступления, кем бы они ни были совершены, необходимо осудить.

Но наряду с этим совершенно недопустимо прибегать к двойным стандартам и прощать себе то, за что мы тут же сурово клеймим других. Если мы находим те или иные оправдания своим действиям, то обязаны применить те же критерии и к нашим оппонентам.

Неправильно видеть общенациональное согласие в признании всеми какой-то одной точки зрения. Приведение всех к единомыслию неосуществимо, и даже видимость такого состояния достижима лишь путем насилия.

Подлинное единение зиждется на компромиссе именно между людьми с разными взглядами, которые не отрекаются от своих принципов и приоритетов, но уважают оппонентов и готовы сотрудничать с ними на общей основе любви к своей Родине и добросовестного служения ей.

Жизненно важно уметь видеть, прежде всего, хорошее, а не плохое, находить, прежде всего, не врагов, а друзей, обращать внимание не на то, что разделяет, а на то, что роднит нас друг с другом.

Ради собственного блага и ради будущих поколений мы должны не только прощать тех, кто причинил нам боль, но и просить прощения.

Покаяние — не унизительное, а возвышающее и очищающее состояние. Однако неразумно и греховно требовать покаяния от других, горделиво воображая себя безгрешными судьями. Только подавая пример собственным покаянием мы сможем показать окружающим его спасительный смысл.

Если все мы будем хотя бы стараться поступать в соответствии с этими жизненными установками, Россия не только преодолеет печальные последствия потрясений ХХ века, но обязательно обретет новые силы и воспрянет во всем своем духовном, государственном и культурном величии.

Сегодня по благословению Святейшего Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Кирилла в храмах Русской Православной Церкви совершаются заупокойные богослужения по всем жертвам смут в нашем Отечестве. По павшим в боях, на чьей бы стороне они ни находились. По казненным и замученным в заключении. По умершим от невыносимых жизненных условий, порожденных беспощадным социальным экспериментированием. По скончавшимся в изгнании вдали от Родины.

Среди них были люди левых и правых убеждений, представители всех религий, национальностей, классов и сословий. Были пламенные борцы с властью и её убежденные сторонники. Большинство было хорошими честными искренними людьми, стремившимися к Правде, хотя и понимавшими её по разному, иногда, увы, с противоположных позиций. Хочется верить, что само по себе это стремление и перенесённые ими страдания хотя бы в последние мгновения приоткрыли для них свет Истины, примирили их в Истории и в Жизни Вечной перед лицом Божиим.

Поминая их вместе, молясь о прощении их вольных и невольных прегрешений, мы более спокойно отнесемся к прошлому и глубже ощутим то, что сближает нас в настоящем.

Да будут нам руководством бессмертные слова св. Императора Николая II Страстотерпца, переданные им незадолго перед казнью через св. Великую Княжну Ольгу Николаевну: «Не зло победит Зло, а только Любовь».

Я и мой сын и наследник Великий Князь Георгий Михайлович просим вас принять наши пожелания здоровья, многолетия, семейного счастья, целеустремленности в служении Отечеству, крепких сил в работе, материального благополучия, успехов в отстаивании своих законных прав и, самое главное, веры, надежды, любви и мира в душе, распространяемых на всё, что окружает вас.

Храни вас Господь!

На подлинном собственною Ее Императорского Высочества рукою подписано:


Дано в Мадриде, 22 октября/4 ноября 2017 года
в Праздник Казанской иконы Божией Матери
и День Народного Единства


"The Economist" notes rising issue of Monarchism in Russia

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"Arcane arguments about Russia's sovereigns could go mainstream: The last of the White Russians wonder who should be tsar" is an interesting new piece in "The Economist" that discusses the rising tide of the question of Monarchism in Russia, and what role it plays in today's society.  The piece kindly references "Russian Legitimist" with a link.

The piece notes the fact that HIH Grand Duchess Maria is the only candidate acknowledged by the Russian Orthodox Church, and that she may one day take a "semi-official" role in Russian public life.

It also points out a fundamental conflict in today's Russia; "Is it possible for a state which venerates the relics of the Romanovs to devote space in a mausoleum to Vladimir Lenin, the one who saw them slaughtered?"

Read the full piece HERE.



Interview with H.I.H. Grand Duke and Tsesarevich George in "Vanity Fair."

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An interview with H.I.H. the Grand Duke George of Russia in Vanity Fair.  English translation used is the official RIUO translation.

Will there be any special events in Russia marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution?  

Yes. Starting even last year, there have been a number of events marking this sad and grim anniversary. These include commemorative services, academic conferences, and other events organized by political figures and civic groups of various kinds.

My mother and I, or our representatives, are taking part only in those events that call upon our nation to look at the events of the past century objectively and comprehensively, and which serve the cause of national reconciliation. 

The Imperial House is neither “Red” nor “White.” We strive to demonstrate to all our countrymen that the Revolution and Civil War were a kind of disease. And the responsibility for the spreading of that disease lies in us all. Not only the Bolsheviks are responsible for the tragedies of the 20th century, nor only the revolutionaries of other persuasions, but also the ruling classes, and our dynasty itself. We do not deny our share of the blame.

The crimes of all those involved must never be forgotten or justified, so that we may never repeat them. Butwecannot undowhathasbeendone. And those who seek revenge for what has been done—whether they be “Reds” or “Whites”—are profoundly wrong. By seeking revenge, these people, wittingly or unwittingly, are only fanning the cooled embers of the Civil War.

The Imperial House calls upon us all not only to forgive others, but to ask others to forgive us for our own sins and mistakes. Cleansed by this mutual repentence, we can work together for a better Russia today and tomorrow.

We attach particular importance to memorial services for all victims of the Civil War, where the descendants of both “Reds” and “Whites” gather together. That tradition began several years ago, and my mother, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and the Orthodox Church enthusiastically supported that undertaking. In his message of November 4, 2009, to the first such memorial service, in the Church of the Sign of the Mother of God on Romanov pereulokin Moscow, my mother wrote:

“The main lesson of the last tragic century for us should be a clear awareness of the fact that godlessness and inhumane evil, mutual extermination, hatred or falsehood can never be justified in the pursuit of a goal, no matter how desirable that goal may seem to be. Every side in the great Troubles of the twentieth century had its own truth and its own falsehood, its own ideals and its own selfish interests, its own heroes and its own villains. But, at the end of the day, everyone suffered from the Revolution: both those who lost and those who won. Yesterday’s executioners became the tomorrow’s victims, and many of those who survived and seemed even to find themselves in positions of power and privilege, nonetheless turned out to be defective spiritually and morally. We should forget nothing about this time, so that we do not repeat these mistakes. We should strive to make right the evil that was done. But we should also have the capacity to forgive and to ask forgiveness. For the sake of future generations, we must learn first and foremost to find in the past and in the present not those things that have divided us, but those things that can unite us, each and every one of us.”

With which of your ancestors do you most identify, or, put better, who is your favorite Romanoff? 

My favorites are Emperors Peter I the Great and Alexander III the Peacemaker. In Peter I, I admire most the energy and selfless dedication; in Alexander III, the confidence and dignified manner, and his ability to create an effective team of statesmen and to motivate them to achieve things for the good of the country.  

Do you plan to move back to Russia at any point in the near future?  

Returning to Russia to live permanently has always been and remains our deepest desire. Our Russian citizenship was restored in 1992. The process of reintegrating the Imperial House into the social life of Russia has been progressing steadily since then. We have visited almost every region of Russia and many independent states that formerly belonged to the Russian Empire. Right now, we live abroad, but we visit Russia more and more frequently and we’re certain that soon I will able to say the opposite: that we live in Russia but frequently visit other countries.

Political pundits and analysts frequently compare Putin with a tsar. What do you think about that comparison?  

The comparison of a strong political leader with a tsar is made often enough for it now to be a common “figure of speech.” In France, for example, they called General Charles de Gaulle a “monarch.” If anyone thinks that such comparisons annoy or anger the members of historical ruling dynasties, they’d be very mistaken.

A monarchy, in the form that it took at its highest stage of historical development, is pointless without the notions of dynasty and legitimate succession.  And a republic is pointless without elections for its leader.

Attempting to mix these two forms of government would be a doomed experiment.
President Vladimir Putin is an experienced statesman. He was elected President of a democratic republic in a national election, and he has never even hinted at wanting to engage in any sort of Bonapartist adventures. Nor could any other sensible politician seriously think such a thing. Such ideas dwell only in the realm of demagogues and crackpots.

What was the purpose of your first visit to Russia?

The first time I came to Russia was with my mother and grandmother, and it was to attend the funeral of my grandfather, Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich. His funeral was officiated by Patriarch Alexis II, and afterward he was buried in our family mausoleum in the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg. 

The death of my grandfather was for my family an enormous sorrow. But our fellow countrymen helped us get through this moment by surrounding us with love and sympathy. I was only 11 years old then, but I already could understand and feel that, despite the decades of anti-religious and anti-monarchist propaganda, love for our history, kindness, and generosity had not died out among our people.

I learned more and more about our country in my subsequent visits to Russia, and I have striven to understand my fellow countrymen and their needs and problems ever since. I know that I now have many good and reliable friends in many corners of Russia. I communicate with some quite often, and with others only from time to time. But that atmosphere of love and mutual respect, which we encountered back in 1992, is alive and well, and only getting stronger.  

The history of your family attracts a lot of interest in the press and in TV and film. The creators of the TV show Mad Men are creating a series on the Romanoffs today, and the film about the ballerina Mathilda Kshesinska has generated a lot of discussion. What do you think about all this attention that the family is getting? 

I think that there isn’t an imperial or royal dynasty in history that hasn’t attracted enormous popular interest. Some ridicule those dynasties, others praise them, and some do both at the same time. But hardly anyone is entirely neutral on the subject. So the interest we are seeing in the House of Romanoff is entirely natural.  

As for TV shows or movies about the modern lives of members of the Imperial House and our relatives, I can say that they are often rather trite and superficial. Their makers rarely engage in the kind of research into the historical, conceptual, or legal issues related to their subject matter, and seem only concerned with attracting viewers. Of course, it would be wrong to expect of these films a kind of scholarly treatment. But to ignore fully even the most basic information about the history and internal institutions of the dynasty would also be wrong.  

Of course, there are scandalous and libelous films that employ the methods of the Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels: “the more ridiculous and monstrous the lie, the easier it will be believed.” But we are confident that this method has already been discredited, and the majority of people in our day have access to information and so are able to distinguish truth from falsehood.

The film about the relationship between Emperor Nicholas II (when he was still heir to the throne) and the ballerina Mathilda Kshessinska has still not been shown in theatres. But we know enough from the trailers and advertisements to make a reasonably fair assessment of it. It is already clear that the portrayals of Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and other characters areutterly unhistorical and untrue, and completely out of line with all we know about these peopleas historical figures.

Even the fiercest enemies and sharpest critics of Emperor Nicholas II recognized that he was an exemplary husband and father, and a very calm and controlled man with a measured temperament. The trailer for the film portrays a weak and will-less man, who is confused in his feelings and in his relationships with women.

It’s not surprising that many people are shocked by this film, all the more so, of course, because Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and their children were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as passion-bearers.

Still, attempts to prohibit this film, in our view, are senseless because it only creates more publicity for the film than there would otherwise be. The only effective weapon against falsehood is the truth, not prohibitions.

We are very grateful to the hierarchs of our Church—Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Bishop Tikhon of Yegorievsk, who, by the way, read the entire screenplay and have seen the current full version of the of the film—for their very wise and measured words on this matter. According to these representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, it is pointless to prohibit this film, but it is quite appropriate to point out its many historical defects.

We should also note that Metropolitan Hilarion is a talented and accomplished composer, who was trained at the Moscow State Conservatory, and Bishop Tikhon, before taking Holy Orders, had graduated from the Department of Screenwriting at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. So both hierarchs are familiar at a very high level with the questions of secular culture and history, and are both very modern and educated people. No one could accuse them of being obscurantists with narrow views on life.

Every author has the right to his own interpretation, to artistic license. But we likewise have the right to expect that this artistic license does not turn into a hurtful and insulting lie.

The Fall of the Romanoff dynasty remains, 100 years later, shrouded in mystery. What do you think really happened?

Of course, I think we need to continue to study all aspects of the events that took place 100 years ago. But I don’t see any sensational secrets here. Such things were thought up by those who wished to attract attention to themselves. Sometimes these sensational speculations embellishedor distorted the tragic suffering of all our people, not just the Imperial family.  
In February 1917, as a result of a conspiracy among some of Russia’s elite, Emperor Nicholas II was forced to abdicate the throne. He did this hoping to avoid a Civil War breaking out in Russia, which was already immersed in the First World War. Unfortunately, this sacrifice of his did not bring calm to the nation. The moderate revolutionaries of February quickly lost control of the situation and were replaced by the more radical revolutionaries of October—the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks established a totalitarian, terroristic regime, which persecuted the Church and other religions, and attempted to construct a fundamentally new society based on atheism and materialism. The Imperial Family remained the symbol of the nation’s old traditional values and therefore their tragic fate was a foregone conclusion. All members of the family of Emperor Nicholas II—the Empress, Tsesarevich Aleksei, and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, as well as their faithful servants—were shot in Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918. Other members of our House who had not already fled Russia were also executed. The only ones to survive were those who in one way or another managed to escape.

After the execution in 1918 of the entire male line of descent from Emperor Alexander III, the legal Head of the Imperial House of Russia became my great-grandfather, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, the next most senior grandson of Alexander II, the Tsar-Liberator. In 1924, having become completely convinced that all of the more senior members of the dynasty had been executed, he adopted the title of Emperor-in-Exile. Through him continues the Romanoff dynasty as a historical institution, preserving continuity in Russian history and the ideal of the State-Family, which is the very essence of hereditary monarchy.

What books would you recommend to me to read to understand more deeply the history of the Romanoffs?

On the history of Russia during the first centuries of the rule of our House, I would recommend the appropriate volumes of the classic work by Sergei Soloviev, A History of Russia from Ancient Times. For a description of the separate reigns of Romanoff rulers, I would recommend the books by Nikolai Schilder. The best book on Nicholas II is probably the book by Sergei Oldenburg, Nicholas II: His Reign and His Russia.

To those who want to peer more deeply into the history of our House in all its facets and features I would recommend reading historical sources—diaries, letters, and memoirs. These are being published now in very good academic editions, often with commentary by specialists. Of course, even in primary sources like these one can still find contradictory and unreliable information. Historians need to examine all these sources, comparing and analyzing them all systematically and digging into them as best they can for the truth. But sources produced at the time of the events they describe, or at least written by those who were eyewitnesses or participants in these events, convey the spirit of the age and allow one to grasp better the times and events, even if not all the information in them is absolutely historically accurate.

You got your professional start in life working with Ana and Loyola de Palacio. What lasting lessons do you take from your time working with them? What is the typical day like for a lobbyist?

The most important lesson that I learned not only at the beginning of my career working with Ana and Loyola de Palacio, but even growing upin my family, was how to be responsible and dutiful in all the things I do. Otherwise, there is no point in doing anything in the first place. 
I also learned how important it is to show respect for others, not only my bosses, so to speak, but those below me in the workplace.

And I learn one more important rule: that encouraging in others a conscientious and dutiful attitude toward work can only be achieved by example. If you want others to be and act a certain way, but you don’t act that way yourself, you’ll never achieve any good results.  

What parallels do you think exist between Russia in the time of the Romanoffs and Russia today?

Russia is always Russia. Even in the Communist era, under the multiple layers of all that ideology, the party dictatorship, and the destruction of a large part of our traditional values, my homeland continued to live on the basis of itsnative spiritual values. Today we have become witnesses of a genuine miracle of the Transfiguration: the revival of faith in God, the restoration of our holy places and historical monuments, and the desire to strengthen the correction between our times and the pre-revolutionary past. And in all this no one is blotting out the Soviet period. It, too, had many bright and heroic moments.

The Imperial House participates in all things that contribute to the affirmation of the unity of Russian history and its continuity across the generations. We must take the best from every era of our history, even while we try to learn from our mistakes and strive to avoid repeating them.

You often like to say that you don’t want to involve yourself in politics. Why don’t you?

We do not take part in any form of political activity for reasons of principle. The idea of a monarchy is by nature beyond party politics. Monarchy should not dividethe people nor set itself up in oppositionto one or another part of the nation, but should unite it.

Therefore we firmly hold to our monarchist ideals and principles, but we do not force them on others. We speak openly and often about what in our view are the advantages of monarchy. This is a right guaranteed to us by Article 13 of the Constitution of Russia, which provides for freedom of speech and thought. We are open to dialogue with all our countrymen, regardless of whether they are on the political left or on the political right. But we never support any political parties and we do not allow our name to be used in political battles.

In modern times, and particularly at this moment, the main role of monarchy is to serve as an arbiter. This role requires and assumes a neutral position vis-à-vis all parties and groups, just as it requires and assumes a closeness to all the peoples of the nation and an abiding desire to meet their needs. This is true not only for monarchs who reign, but also for the Head of dynasties who don’t.

If we understand the word “politics” not as involvement in political activities, but rather as the art of governance, then that is something we are prepared to engage in, if that is the will of the people. 

But we see a restoration not as some desired fruit, but as an enormous responsibility and burdensome cross. The Romanoffs never, beginning with the first tsar of our dynasty, Mikhail Feodorovich, sought power. When in 1613 an embassy from the Assembly of the Land came to my ancestor Mikhail Romanoff and announced that he had been selected to be the lawful tsar of Russia, he was filled with horror and refused. Then the members of the embassy explained that the throne was not his right but his duty. And he accepted this duty and passed it on to the next generation.

If we are again called by the people to serve, we will likewise accept duty. Butwe will never squander our ancient historical heritage by engaging intoday’s political battles.
Our mission in the modern world is to preserve continuity, traditions, and the historical and cultural heritage of our country; to support the ethnic, religious, and civil peace inside our country; to engage and encourage philanthropy and charity; and to defend and project a positive image of Russia abroad.

What in your view is the Russian Soul, about which so many writers and intellectuals have written?

The Russian soul is the national character of our people. Many people define the term differently. Some emphasize one aspect of it, and others emphasize some other aspect. Some idealize the Russian people, and others attempt to portray them as barbarians. Both, of course, are wrong.
In general, there are no “good” or “bad” peoples in the world. Every nation is good in its ideal form—that is, in itsembodiment of the best qualities that are most dear to each nation. At the same time, each nation has its saints and heroes, its ordinary folk, and its scoundrels and villains. And the Russian nation is no exception to any of this.

However, each nation is, one might say, a kind of collective personality. The totality of these and other ideals, aspirations, and habits of mind all make up the collective character of a nation. And every nation creates its own character.

I will not be saying anything new if I note that when an Englishman wants to describe his country fondly, he uses the term “Merrie Olde England.” The Frenchman will say “la Belle France.” And the Russian will say “Holy Russia.” Which is to say that, for Russians, the first place in their own image of themselves is not beauty or military might, nor even patriotism or the land, but holiness.
At the core of this holiness resides love. And I am profoundly convinced that the unique feature of the Russian soul is the capacity to love deeply, to love sincerely. Sometimes, unfortunately, this capacity for love is reborn as its exact opposite—as hate. And so the Russian man or woman can violently destroy that which he or she once created and once so intensely loved. This happened in the revolutionary era. It is not for nothing that the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin wrote, “God save us from seeing a Russian revolt, senseless and merciless.”

But what is entirely out of character for a Russian is indifference. Indifference is far more horrible than any errors committed on purpose and out of conviction, for it kills without the possibility of resurrection, it corrodes life at its very core, and it turns people into living corpses. The Russian, having considered his actions and understood his sin, is capable of repenting sincerely, deeply, and of undoing the damage he has done. Therefore our country has more than once been resurrected, like a phoenix out of the ashes, after the most terrible national catastrophes. And so I believe very firmly that even now, despite all its challenges, Russia has a very great and bright future ahead of it.

This interview, in edited form, appeared in Vanity Fair, which can be accessed on line here