16 April 2000

Interview of His Imperial Highness, the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich with the journal VIP-Premier

Interview of His Imperial Highness, the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich with the journal VIP-Premier

Interview of His Imperial Highness, the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich with the journal VIP-Premier, 16 April 2000

Your Imperial Highness, what would You say is your main goal in life?

Right now, I want to prepare myself properly to be of use in the future to my Fatherland. I am duty bound to uphold the authority of the Dynasty and always be worthy of my ancestors.
How do You perceive Your position? Does the fact that You are the Heir of the Romanoff Dynasty help or hinder Your relationship with those around You?

Some perhaps think that members of the Imperial House are only capable of thinking about their rights and about their return to power. If this were really so, then my life would be unbearably boring. But, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, I have been raised from my childhood to understand that being the heir to the throne is mainly about duty, not about rights. Secondly, I consider myself to be entirely a modern person; and in daily life, I live exactly as anyone else does. I have no difficulty whatsoever in relating to those I meet.
What event in Your life do You consider to have been most important to You?

The dynastic oath of loyalty I took in Jerusalem on 9 April 1998 to the Fatherland and to My Mother. For me, this was the most significant moment in my life because all my future endeavors will be determined by my pledge, which I gave in this most holy place for all Christians. Patriarch Diodor of Jerusalem, who took my oath and who addressed me especially on that occasion and who gave me his blessing, made an unforgettable impression upon me.
Your Highness, who in Your opinion played the most significant role in the history of Russia?

I would say that this would be Emperor Peter the Great. He inherited a country that was rich in culture and traditions, but had begun to fall behind its neighbors in the economic and military spheres. Reforms had already begun under Peter’s Father and older Brother, but it was Peter who was able to bring about a firm and consistent transformation of the country. My great ancestor shares the fate of many reformers: He is often judged without reference to the circumstances in which He reigned. Of course, He made mistakes. But He achieved the most important of His goals: Russia became a great power. And we have ever since been the benefactors of His legacy.
What hero from literature might serve as an exemplar for You?

All literary heroes are the product of the writer’s imagination. The ideal hero always appears somewhat fabricated, but the more realistic characters created by writers carry in themselves human qualities and flaws. It is difficult to say which hero one would like most to emulate. For example, I have always been intrigued by the character of Taras Bulba: a simple man, passionately devoted to his Motherland, and ready to sacrifice everything for it. That kind of spirit is worthy of imitation, although it is clear that certain actions taken by this literary hero were not always consistent and that his behavior can not always constitute any kind of example to follow.

What book that You have read has made the biggest impression on You?

The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri.

What do You value most of all in people?

Being true to your word and prepared to bear responsibility for all your actions.

What do You dislike the most in people?

Lying, insincerity, and avarice.

What personal qualities are You most proud of, and, conversely, what characteristic would You rather You didn’t have?

A person ought not be proud of his qualities, but should try to perfect them. I value and strive to develop in myself first and foremost that which I inherited from my Mother and Grandparents: the ability to relate with all people as equals, to respect the worth of every person, to understand human suffering. As for my flaws, I would like to be more tenacious in striving to meet my set goals. I think about the things that have happened in my life and I sometimes remember with regret how some difficulty that arose served to dampen my desire to do one thing or another and I therefore did not finish things. For me, I consider tenacity to be especially necessary and I hope to acquire the ability always to transform doubts into personal strength.

Is there anything You are afraid of, and is there anything that You regret?

The only thing I fear is failing the trust that people have placed in me; and I regret that I was born and was raised entirely outside of the Motherland.

Who, in Your opinion, is a friend?

The person in whom you alone can confide all things.

Is there anyone in whom you have complete trust?

Firstly, my Mother and Grandmother. They are the closest people to me, as would be the case for anyone. But I also have trustworthy friends who never would betray me.

What languages do You speak and which of these do You consider to be Your native tongue?

That’s a strange question. Russian, of course. This is the language that is inseparably linked with the spirit that fills my life. Perhaps, I sometimes make a mistake, since I speak Russian only with my family, and since all my other speech and my education are conducted in foreign languages that has unavoidably influenced my speech. This shortcoming we can eliminate easily. But my most intimate thoughts I can properly formulate only in Russian. In addition, I speak English, French, and Spanish fluently.

How do You like to spend Your free time?

I love to travel. It allows one to broaden significantly one’s perspective and to get valuable insights into the traditions of peoples of various countries.

How are Your studies going? Is there a subject that You do not especially like?

Classes during the school year are usually very intense. I have little time for anything else but studying. But I know that all the education that I am receiving now is preparing me for my future. In my school in Madrid, the curriculum was such that I could pick my subjects myself, according to my own preferences, so that I really did not have anything that I could call my “least favorite” subject. The exact sciences and the humanities were both useful subjects, and the range of courses I took within them was something I always could choose myself. Right now at Oxford, I am studying mainly international economics and law.

What sort of profession would You like to take up?

In our Family, all men traditionally had military educations. I dream of reviving this tradition, but I consider it appropriate to receive a military education only in Russia, since I will not permit myself to serve in the army of a foreign country, even if only symbolically.

Who is Your favorite actor?

I love historical films and my favorite actor is Lawrence Olivier.

Your Imperial Highness, what would You like to say to the young people in the Motherland?

I know that many young people in the Motherland—indeed, all of my countrymen—do not have things easy. When I was in Russia, I saw the quite large gap between the living standards of people who live in western countries and those who live in Russia. Our family always lived rather modestly; but what people in Europe today consider to be a normal, middle-class level of life, is, in Russia, it is the life of a rich person. It hurts me to see this because I know that Russia is a great and rich country in terms of its human and natural resources, and its people deserve a much better fate. I would like young people in Russia to know that from the bottom of my heart, I desire to be in constant contact with them, and that, if in some respects I right now enjoy some advantages they do not, then I see this precisely as an opportunity to give back in the future the knowledge I have received, in our joint efforts with them to bring about a rebirth of Russia.

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