10 September 2005

Message from the Head of the Russian Imperial House H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna to the Cossaks of Russia

Message from the Head of the Russian Imperial House H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna to the Cossaks of Russia

By the Grace of God
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Head of the Russian Imperial House

To the Cossacks—heirs and preservers of the traditions and accomplishments of the magnificent hosts of Don, Kuban, Terek, Astrakhan, Ural, Orenburg, Siberian, Semirech’ia, Zabaikal, Amur, and Ussur Cossacks.

Being in the historic capital of the Grand Host of the Don Cossacks, I with deep joy greet you and wish you God’s help in the service of the Motherland.

The history and fate of Our House is inseparably linked with the Cossacks. It was the Cossacks at the Great Assembly of the Land in 1613, along with the service ranks, who insisted that the choice of a new tsar not follow the Polish model of elective monarchy, but rather should fall on Our Ancestor, Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov as the legitimate successor to the House of Riurikovich. And later, in the fateful year for all our countrymen of 1917, the Cossacks were a tremendous support for the Orthodox faith, for the throne, and for the national interests of the entire nation; and were the reliable defenders of the borders of the Fatherland.

As was the case with all the Russian people, the Cossacks were divided and weakened by the revolution and the fratricidal civil war. But the spirit of the Cossacks did not die, a people who gradually in the course of centuries became a stable class of soldier-landowners, who nurtured in themselves the best values of heroism and industriousness, and who became an example for their countrymen. It was precisely for these reasons that the Cossacks became a threat to the revolutionaries, who from the beginning turned the people toward anarchy, and then established their brutal regime based on atheism, terror, and lies. The suffering that fell upon the Cossacks stands out as stark even in the context of the horrible tragedy that befell Russia in the twentieth century.

The fall of the godless regime opened up to the Cossacks new possibilities, but also new dangers as well. On the one hand, there is the temptation to substitute the essence of Cossack service for merely the outward appearance of that essence, and, on the other, the temptation to embark on the path of stark and poorly thought-through actions, to display impulsiveness and impatience. The consequences of all this, even given the best intentions, in the end would only be the trampling of Divine commandments, of law, and of traditions.

However, this is hardly the way things have to be among the Cossacks. Only in strict accordance with the current legal system in Russia, showing Christian love for neighbors and respect for the state’s institutions, should the Cossacks reassert, with wisdom and over time, their ancient rights, always remembering that rights emerge out of historical duties and that without these duties, rights lose all their meaning.

In the genuine rebirth of the Cossacks Hosts we see a crucially important and necessary part of the general reestablishment of the greatness and glory of Russia.

We are convinced that the link between the Cossacks and Our House will never be severed. We believe that we have the same values and ideals; therefore, in our work for the good of the Motherland, we and our Son and Heir, Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich, believe we will always find in the Cossacks certain and true friends, who will help us fulfill our duty, which has been given us by God.

May the Lord Almighty preserve you all! 

(The original is signed in Her Imperial Highness’ own hand)


Issued in Novocherkassk, 28 August/10 September 2005 

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

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