31 July 2005

Interview of the Head of the Russian Imperial House H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna in the Newspaper Sovereign (city of Saransk), July 2005

Interview of the Head of the Russian Imperial House H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna in the Newspaper Sovereign (city of Saransk), July 2005

Your Imperial Highness, in 2002 you submitted to the presidential commission on the rehabilitation of victims of political repression, documents pertaining to the rehabilitation of Emperor Nicholas II and members of the Imperial family who were murdered in 1918-1919. What has come of all your efforts in this regard?

The legal work to establish the facts surrounding the deaths and the rehabilitation of all members of the our House who were martyred after the revolution, began, with my blessing, as early as 1995 by my august mother, Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna. For two years prior to that, a state commission for the identification of the remains found near Ekaterinburg was working, and during this same time preparations were under way to bury these remains; still we found it surprising that no one thought it necessary to register the fact of the deaths of the Royal Family and other members of the House. After all, in the absence of this legal determination, they officially had to be seen as still living…. In addition, it seemed necessary to recognize on a governmental level the indisputable fact that members of the Dynasty were subjected to illegal actions, to mocking, and to the loss of their lives for religious and political reasons.

Since then, our legal representative in Russia, G. Luk’ianov, has assembled evidence about the killings of all members of the Royal Family and others of our relatives, except for Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich, who was killed in Tashkent. The case of four grand dukes who were murdered in the Petropavlovsk fortress in 1919 has also be decided. But now, unfortunately, the process of acknowledging these wrongs had hit a wall of resistance. Despite of the fact that our efforts were supported by His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksei II, despite the fact that the majority of our countrymen, regardless of their political leanings, condemn the cruel executions that befell the emperor and empress, their young children, and other relatives, despite the fact that the Royal Family and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fedorovna are numbered among the choir of saints of the Russian Orthodox Church and in every church there are icons of them all, we observe a clear unwillingness to rehabilitate those who suffered. But we will continue to insist that this rehabilitation is necessary first and foremost not for our family, and not certainly even for the royal martyrs themselves, but first and foremost for the entire country, so that it—the current government—enjoys the legitimacy of being a historical successor of the best traditions and accomplishments of the past, and not of bloody crimes.

It is well known that your father, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, being a broadly educated person, followed the example of your ancestor Peter the Great and strove to master many professions. What profession has the heir to the Russian throne, Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich, chosen for himself? What are his interests and hobbies? Does he have any plans in the near future to get married?

My son and heir, Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich, finished a course of study in the Law Department of Oxford University. Since 2001, he has been working at the European Commission. He currently lives in Luxembourg, but he often comes to Madrid, and from time to time accompanies me on my visits to Russia. He, like all of us, hopes one day to live permanently in Russia, but that is, for the moment, not possible, unfortunately. In the meantime, he works to gather knowledge and experience that will be useful in his future service to Russia. The grand duke loves and knows music, both classical and modern music, plays sports to the extent his schedule permits, and loves to travel. The question of his marriage has not yet been raised.

Your Imperial Highness, you and your family have for many years already been genuine conservators of the glorious traditions of the Russian Imperial house. Do you have any plans to return to Russia to live?

As I have already said, our return to Russia remains our greatest dream. Through all the years of exile, we have lived with the constant thought of Russia. In 1991, by God’s will, the opportunity opened up for us finally to visit Russia, and we have made use of that opportunity on every possible occasion. The recognition of our Russian citizenship, the warm reception we receive on the part of government officials and the recognition our countrymen give to our Chancellery in Moscow, the growth in the activity of the Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, our work with Church and other philanthropic groups in Russia through our charitable organization “Radonezh,” and the establishment and work of the organization “Education for Poor Children,” which we have sponsored and support…All this we do, but to move our permanent residency to Russia is not now possible until a series of legal matters are resolved. I repeat again and again that we are not interested in engaging in politics, that, being the bearers and preservers of the monarchist principle, we would nonetheless never agree to the establishment of the monarchy without the consent of the Russian people, we do not seek the return of properties, and we serve Russia and the Russian people without any sort of pre-conditions. But I, as Head of the Russian Imperial House, cannot, under any circumstances, permit the honour of the House be tarnished, not even to fulfill any personal wishes of my own. This would be a grave sin before my royal ancestors, before the entire history of Russia, and would bring nothing but ill to the present government there. Therefore the permanent return of my family to Russia must be delayed until such time as the legal relationship has been clarified between the current Russian government and the Imperial House as an historical institution in Russia.

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