28 January 2016

H.I.H. The Heir, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia visits Milan, January 26-28, 2016

H.I.H. The Heir, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia visits Milan, January 26-28, 2016

On January 26-28, 2016, H.I.H. The Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia visited Milan, Italy—the capital city of Lombardy. The purpose of the trip was to help promote economic and cultural ties between Russia and Italy.




Lombardy is one of the richest regions of Italy and of all Europe, and its political and economic leaders have played an influential role in helping to resolve many of the issues that have recently arisen as a result of the change in relations between the European Union and Russia.

The Grand Duke was accompanied on this trip to Italy by representatives of the Russian Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research, including Baron Mario Filippo Brambilla di Carpiano and the vice-president of the company Romanoff and Partners, David Gorria. The Tsesarevich attended many meetings during the trip with members of the business community in Milan, during which he had the opportunity to describe in detail his many ongoing business and cultural projects.

His visit to Milan began on January 26, on the 400th anniversary of the repose of St. Irenarch the Recluse of Rostov, with a visit to the Orthodox Church of Sts. Sergius of Radonezh, Seraphim of Sarov, and Holy Martyr Vikentii (Vincent) of Saragossa.

Parishioners—both Italians and Russians—gathered on the square opposite the church. The rector, Archimandrite Dmitry (Fantini) and other clergy welcomed the Tsesarevich. His Imperial Highness was greeted with the traditional Russian offering of bread and salt.

Archimandrite Dmitry then served a moleben—or intercessory prayer service—according to the Royal Rubrics. Next to where the Grand Duke stood during the service were placed the Russian national flag (the white-blue-red tricolor) and the imperial flag (the black-gold-white tricolor).

After the completion of the service, His Imperial Highness venerated the holy icons and relics in the church and chatted warmly with parishioners.

From the church the Grand Duke went to the club of the Mediterranean Garden Society in the Palazzo Spinola (the oldest and most respected club of its kind in Milan), where a lunch was hosted by the club’s president and members in honour of the Grand Duke.

On January 27, the Grand Duke met with representatives of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of Italy (the Assoimprese) and the National Confederation of Farmers (the Coldiretti). His Imperial Highness described for them the activities of his company Romanoff and Partners and they all exchanged views on how to expand economic ties between Russia and Italy.

Later, the Heir of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, along with a few others, including an Orthodox priest, met with Giulio Gallera, a Councillor (Assessore) in the regional government, in the Palazzo Lombardia (the President of Lombardy, Roberto Maroni, was away at the time on a state visit to Slovenia).

The Grand Duke and Councillor Gallera discussed the current economic sanctions being applied against Russia and the negative consequences they have had for both sides. They also expressed their shared belief in the need for the normalization of relations between Lombardy and Russia. At the end of the meeting, which was conducted in an entirely positive and constructive atmosphere, Mr. Giulio Gallera presented His Imperial Highness with a commemorative gift.

In the afternoon, the Tsesarevich met with members of several “Friends of Russia” groups, who had arrived in Milan from across Lombardy, Liguria, and the Piedmont. The Grand Duke discussed ideas of how to increase collaboration in the area of philanthropy and in cultural and educational projects, especially through the auspices of the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research.

Later, His Imperial Highness met with a delegation from the Assolembarda, an association that brings together major Italian manufacturers in the region. The Grand Duke described for them his business activities and they together discussed possibilities for collaboration.

That evening, in the Palazzo Durini, the famous fashion designers Filippo Bruno di Tornaforte and Salvatore Prete (joint owners of the Luvé brand name) hosted a cocktail party in honour of the Tsesarevich.

On January 28, the Grand Duke and several officers of Unicredito Bank visited the Milan Stock Exchange, the Borsa Italiana, where they were greeted by its Chairman and by a representative of the London Stock Exchange.

At 3:30 p.m. His Imperial Highness participated in a conference on commercial ties between Russia and Europe, organized by the law offices of Grimaldi and Associates. Also attending the conference was the Trade Representative of the Russian Federation to Italy, Igor Karavaev, and the Vice-Consul of the Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in Milan, Platon Ratskevich. Among the topics discussed were investment in the Russian economy and cooperation between Russian and Italian firms. Experts in the Grand Duke’s delegation gave presentations, including: Professor Fabrizio de Marinis, who spoke about the influence of geopolitical processes on the economy; and Rebecca Bettarini, who discussed issues involving the European sanctions against Russia. The Grand Duke spoke about the current economic situation and about the significant opportunities that the Russian market offers to Italian manufacturers, especially in the future, after the easing of tensions and the lifting of sanctions. The well-known owner of an Italian travel business, Ernesto Pratoni, who for more than 20 years has done business in Russia, described his positive experiences working with Russian partners and clients. The majority of the participants in the conference expressed their firm belief that the sanctions need to be lifted.

The visit of H.I.H. The Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia to Milan ended with a reception on Lake Como at the villa of the Verga Ruffoni family. The reception was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, the business community, and members of the Italian nobility.

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