03 April 2009

Report from the News Agency “Interfax” on the filing of a motion by the Head of the House of Romanoff to the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation

Moscow. 3 April. INTERFAX.RU. The Prosecutor General of Russia began an investigation into the question of the rehabilitation of the relatives of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, who were executed by the Bolsheviks.

“We received a motion from the Imperial House of Romanoff, which posed the question of the rehabilitation of the Imperial Family. The said motion will be examined within the period of time required by the law, and the appropriate decision will be rendered in accordance with that law,” Prosecutor General Iurii Chaika today said to “Interfax.”

He went on further to specify that the examination of materials connected with the rehabilitation of victims of political repression is to be undertaken within three months of the motion. In the motion to the Prosecutor General, sent on 27 March of this year, the Head of the Imperial House of Romanoff, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, requested the rehabilitation of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovich, who was shot in Perm’ on 13 June 1918, and also of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fedorovna, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, and Princes-of-Blood-Imperial Ioann, Konstantine, and Igor Konstantinovich, who were all thrown into a mineshaft at Alapaevsk on 18 July 1918.

“Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna feels that all of the aforementioned members of the Russian Imperial House were victims of the arbitrariness of the totalitarian state and suffered political repression for social, class, and religious reasons,” Herman Luk’ianov, the lawyer for the House of Romanoff, earlier told “Interfax.”

According to Luk’ianov, attached to the motion that was submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor General were documents that prove that the grand dukes and princes of the blood suffered political repression. These documents include a report from the FSB that states that Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovich was shot on 13 June 1918, and a death certificate for Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovich which lists the cause of death as his having been shot.

“Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna feels that all victims of the totalitarian Soviet state should be rehabilitated, including members of the Russian Imperial House. This is necessary in order for modern-day Russia to free itself from its bloody past not only by words, but by deeds, and to show to the entire world that Russia is a state governed now by the rule of law, and that there will never again be a return to this dark past,” Luk’ianov said.

Later at a press conference at the main offices of “Interfax,” he noted that in the event of a negative ruling on the motion of the Imperial House of Romanoff on the rehabilitation of the grand dukes who had been executed by the Bolsheviks after the revolution, the Prosecutor General would be obligated to send its ruling to the courts. In the event of a positive ruling and the satisfaction of the legal requests submitted by Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, the Prosecutor General should in that case issue certifications of the rehabilitation of the grand dukes.

In Luk’ianov’s words, the position of the Prosecutor General on the rehabilitation of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovich is already known. “Exactly ten years ago, to be specific, on 27 June 1999, the Prosecutor General accepted the ruling to deny him rehabilitation,” the attorney said. In the ruling issued by the Prosecutor General, the abduction and murder of the grand duke was carried out without any official ruling in a court of law or in any other extra-legal governmental body. “Under these circumstances, to grant the request for rehabilitation is not possible,” according to the ruling by the Office of the Prosecutor General. The Imperial House believes that this decision did not follow the law and was without foundation. In this connection, Luk’ianov mentioned the ruling by the Soviet of People’s Commissars concerning the exiling of Mikhail Romanoff to Perm’. “What else can this be but the deprivation of rights and freedom?”, the lawyer asked. In his words, these actions have for all these years never been subject to any legal scrutiny.

At the press conference on 30 March, the director of the Chancellery of the House of Romanoff, Alexander Zakatov, said that Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, in requesting the rehabilitation of the members of the Imperial family, is not seeking any sort of monetary compensation.

“In pursuing rehabilitation, the grand duchess seeks only to see the legal system in our country operating as it should and strengthened, especially its moral and ethical aspects,” he emphasized.

In Zakatov’s words, “unfortunately, none of those who had slanderously asserted that the current members of the royal family were only after personal gain in seeking the rehabilitation of their relatives, have ever asked the pardon of the head of the Russian Imperial House.” According to Zakatov, the Imperial House of Romanoff also intends, to offer motions to the Prosecutor General’s Office for the rehabilitation of the personal servants of the Imperial Family, who likewise suffered martyrific deaths after the October Revolution.

“We intend to present documents for the rehabilitation of the faithful servants of members of the Imperial House of Romanov, who followed the royal family into exile and shared with them a martyr’s death,” Zakatov announced. “From a spiritual point of view, we venerate them also as martyrs and, perhaps, their suffering presents an even greater example of sacrifice because some of them could have escaped this horrific end, but chose not to.”

On 1 October 2008, the presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ruled in favor of the rehabilitation of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, and members of his family. Recently, the deputy director of the Office of External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, agreed with the necessity of the rehabilitation of members of the royal family, including the grand dukes and princes-of-the-blood-imperial, who were executed by the Bolsheviks after the revolution.

“After the court recognized Emperor Nicholas II and his family as innocent victims of a crime, it would have been logical then also to recognize as victims of political crimes the other members of the House of Romanoff, who had not yet been rehabilitated and who also suffered in the period of persecution organized by the Bolsheviks,” Fr. Vsevolod said on 27 March to a correspondent for “Interfax-Religiia.”

As the archpriest said, it is also necessary “to examine in a more detailed and serious way the criminal activity of the Bolsheviks, in part so that it can be established precisely by name what persons and which organizations were responsible for carrying out these crimes.”

Correspondent Vladimir Shishkin

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