12 March 2013

Interview with the Head of the House of Romanoff on the website “Russia for Everyone”: “We oppose no one”

Interview with the Head of the House of Romanoff on the website “Russia for Everyone”: “We oppose no one”

This year, Russia marks the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanoff and the ending of the Time of Troubles. The Romanoff dynasty ruled for 300 years. During the course of its reign, Russia was transformed into an empire, expanded its boundaries in every direction, and became one of the great powers of its time.

Глава Дома Романовых великая княгиня Мария Владимировна

Russia this year celebrates the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the reign of the House of Romanoff and the ending of the Time of Troubles. In July 1613, Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich was crowned in the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. The Romanoff dynasty would reign for the next 300 years. During these three centuries of rule, Russia became an empire, expanded its boundaries in every direction, and became one of the great powers of its time.

As is well known, several members of the House of Romanoff managed to survive the Revolution of 1917 and the executions of the Imperial Family, though they were forced to flee Russia for their lives. In the course of the 20th century, descendants of the Romanoffs continued to advance the cause of Russia abroad. Today, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia regularly travels to Russia in her capacity as Head of the Russian Imperial House. Correspondents of the website “Russia for Everyone” had the honor to speak with the Grand Duchess and to ask her a few questions.

Your Imperial Highness, what is monarchy today?

Throughout history, the idea of monarchy has been encapsulated in the idea of the Family-State. Hereditary sovereigns are the symbolic fathers and mothers of the people and naturally play the role of arbiters. The main function of the head of a dynasty is to be the bearer of the idea of monarchy; and regardless of whether he or she actually reigns or not, the sovereign is an arbiter for all parties and groups. I therefore refrain from participating in any sorts of political struggles in the country and I try always to treat everyone equally and to support the government and all the constructive elements in today’s Russia and in those sovereign states that were once part of the cultural world that was the Russian Empire.

In your view, is it possible for Russia to have a monarchy in the 21st century? Which is the more likely scenario—the revival of a monarchical form of government in our country, or the participation of a representative of the House of Romanoff in a Presidential election campaign?

The House of Romanoff cannot participate in elections. As I have said, we oppose no one. We try to get along with everyone and to be useful to all who want our assistance and are willing to work with us. We do have our own beliefs and ideals, and we freely express them. But we impose nothing on anyone. I believe that monarchy is a fully modern system of government which has a future. But power is not for us a brass ring we strive to attain, but rather a cross that one has to bear. Those who try to attribute to us a desire for power are not correct. If our people should one day decide to reestablish the legitimate monarchy and should summon me, my son, or our legal heirs to ascend the throne, then we will fulfill our duty. But whatever the future holds, we are always ready to serve our country, no matter what the system of government it might have, and not just by sitting on its throne. At present, I occupy myself exclusively with social, charitable, cultural, and other similar humanitarian projects, and I stay away from politics.

In this year especially, many will be discussing the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanoff and will be drawing conclusions about the rule of the dynasty. What conclusions have you yourself drawn about the dynasty?

We can sum up the rule of the dynasty at the conclusion of the present celebrations. Right now, we should solemnly and with confidence move forward, and mark the 400th anniversary of the nation’s victory over the Troubles with the appropriate respect due to our ancestors. You can ask that question later. When you see the reaction of people, then the answer will be obvious. But right now, the celebrations are just getting started.

How is Russia perceived abroad?

I have to say that the world has always showed, and continues to show, enormous respect for Russia; and there has been a particularly high regard among foreigners for the Russian intelligentsia. I note that many foreigners are very pleased that so many of the best representatives of Russian society live among them abroad. Still, our goal is to do everything we can so that our citizens will want to continue to live in Russia; that they won’t want to leave their homeland. There was a time when we had to flee for our lives from Russia. But the nation needs its people, and without them there can be no Russia in the future.

When people speak of Russians living abroad, they speak of Russian living across the globe, but never about a Russian diaspora. Has a Russian diaspora formed, in your opinion?

It is not a question of whether a Russian diaspora exists or not—of course it does! Perhaps not in every place, but certainly in many countries. What’s most important, in my opinion, is to realize that we are all Russians. Wherever we may be, we have to display the best qualities of our national character.

Do you plan to increase the role of Russia’s youth in the activities of the Russian Imperial House?

I am always ready to do so, and it would be a great joy for me. If I am invited, I will come. If someone proposes an idea, I absolutely will consider it. I would very much like to have young people get to know my family.

Interview by Alevtina Sharkova.

The original interview (in Russian) was originally posted here: http://rus.rus4all.ru/interview/20130312/723927719.html

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