28 April 2009

Press Release On the Visit to Russia of H.I.H. Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich 22-26 April 2009

Press Release
On the Visit to Russia of H.I.H. Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich
22-26 April 2009

On 22-26 April 2009, H.I.H. Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich, the most august son and heir of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, visited Russia. His Imperial Highness arrived in Russia with the goal of visiting Moscow and the city of Noril’sk in order to familiarize himself with the work of the firm Norilsk Nickel and for discussions with the leadership of the company on strategies to advocate the interests of the company, and of the Russian economy generally, in the institutional bodies of the European Union.

On 22 April, the grand duke arrived in Moscow. On 23 April, in the Moscow offices of Norilsk Nickel, His Imperial Highness met and had discussions with the general director of the company, V. I. Strzhalkovskii, then with the chairman of the company’s Council of Directors, A. S. Voloshin, and also with the deputy general director, O. M. Pivovarchuk, and with V. I. Sprogis, who, together with the grand duke, have become members of the Nickel Institute (on the Nickel Institute). On 23-24 April, the Grand Duke and General Director V. I. Strzhalkovskii flew overnight to Noril’sk.

On 24 April, in the morning, a detailed excursion lasting several hours was organized for His Imperial Highness, which took him into the “Komsomol’” mine of the mine administration “Talnakh”, in the course of which the Grand Duke went down the “Zapad” and “Vostok” mines and familiarized himself with all the fundamental steps in the extraction of sulfide iron-nickel ores. During his time in the mines, he had the opportunity to speak at some length with the miners. After a brief rest at his hotel “Polar Star [Poliarnaia zvezda],” the Grand Duke visited the “Museum of the Discovery and Development of the Noril’sk Industrial Region,” and the “First House in Noril’sk” (which contains the log house of the prominent Arctic geologist and researcher, N. N. Urvantsev, which was built during the first geological exploratory expedition to the area in 1921). He also visited the Noril’sk College of the Arts, at which a brief musical program was performed for His Imperial Highness; and he visited the teleradio company “Northern City,” where the Grand Duke shared his impressions with representatives of the media. That same day, the Grand Duke paid tribute to the memory of the victims of political repression by visiting the monument “Noril’sk Golgotha,” which was erected on the location of a mass grave for inmates of the Norillag concentration camp, at the foot of the mountain that bears the name of the famous Russian geologist of the nineteenth century, F. B. Shmidt.

On 25 April, in the Noril’sk City Administration Building, Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich met with the mayor of the city, S. A. Shmakov, and with the Head of City Administration, A. L. Teksler. The mayor of Noril’sk advised the Grand Duke about the workings of the city’s social and ecological programs, and about the productive level of cooperation between the Noril’sk administration and, more generally, the entire civil administration of the Krasnoiarsk region, and Norilsk Nickel, which has greatly improved the living conditions of the region’s population.

Then His Imperial Highness visited the Noril’sk Cathedral of the Icon of the Most Pure Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow”. The Dean of the Taimyr’ Deanery and rector of the cathedral, Archpriest Mikhail Grenaderov, together with the clergy of Noril’sk, greeted the Grand Duke and conveyed to him the blessing of Archbishop Antonii of Krasnoiarsk and Eniseisk, who was at that time making an archpastoral visit to the village of Khatanga, north of the Arctic Circle, and so unable to be present for the Grand Duke’s visit. His Imperial Highness attended the Divine Liturgy and venerated the icons and relics in the cathedral, including: the icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow,” and a small shrine in the altar containing the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker, St. Alexander Nevskii, St. Feodor Ushakov, St. Feodosii of Chernigov, and other holy saints. Then the Grand Duke, together with Fr. Mikhail, other clergy, and teachers, toured the Noril’sk Orthodox General Educational Gymnasium at the cathedral. After a break for tea and just before departing, the Grand Duke accepted a portable folding icon set from Archpriest Mikhail Grenaderov, in prayerful memory of his visit to Noril’sk. On that same day, Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich, together with the General Director of Norilsk Nickel, V. I. Strzhalkovskii, took part in the opening of the health marathon “Ski-Track Noril’sk Nickel,” then departed for Moscow.

On 25 April, the Grand Duke received the reports from members of the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, from representatives of civic organizations, and from the Russian Nobility Association. He also gave an interview to V. K. Terekhov of Interfax, and took a walking tour of Moscow. On 26 April, at Domodedovo Airport, before his departure for Madrid, he got acquainted with and spoke at some length with his relatives—Pavel Eduardovich Kulikovskii (the grandson of the sister of the Passion-Bearer Emperor Nicholas II, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Olga Aleksandrovna, by her morganatic marriage with Colonel N. A. Kulikovskii), and with his wife, Liudmila Anatol’evna, who had come to the airport to see him off.

Bidding farewell to his homeland, H.I.H. Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich expressed his gratitude to all those who had organized and participated in events during his visit. “For me,” His Imperial Highness said, “it was a great joy to visit Noril’sk during the first year of my involvement with the company Norilsk Nickel, and to see with my own eyes how the economic might of Russia is and will be created and sustained. Genuine heroes are working there—courageous, genuine, good, and hardworking people who are devoted to their job. Meeting them has encouraged and inspired me.

A. N. Zakatov
Director of H.I.H.’s Chancellery

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