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17 October 2017

Interview with Tsesarevich George of Russia in the newspaper Monarkhist [Monarchist]

Your Imperial Highness, dramatic geopolitical changes are taking place in the world right now. The unipolar world that emerged after the fall of the USSR has gradually given way to a multipolar world. What do you think about these processes?

A multipolar world is, I think, a much more natural and healthy condition for humanity. A monopoly in any sphere—whether it be politics, economics, or culture—always leads, at the end of the day, to disastrous consequences. Even when one power achieves what appears to be complete domination in one sphere or another, the lack of any competition always leads to a degradation of the monopoly, which in turn leads to a diminution of power, and then to a loss of the original monopoly. When these processes take place on a global scale, they can often be accompanied by discord and conflict, as well as suffering and death.

Moreover, we have to remember that human civilization and culture are diverse. Human civilization is actually made up of many different cultures that have formed over many centuries. And even within each culture there is enormous variation and diversity. All attempts to create a utopia by forcing upon all the people of the Earth a single ideology, whether rooted in the values of one culture or, even worse, in that of one government, even if a very powerful and successful government, have never succeeded. And all attempts to create a utopia in practice have universally been doomed to failure and have led to horrible tragedies.

The Russian Empire was an archetypal empire, which was founded on the principle of “Unity in Diversity.” And in our Empire, this principle always encompassed the understanding that it is possible to bring together in harmony only that which has already unified. Mistakes, of course, were made in this regard, but in those instances, we saw right away the consequences of our mistake. But I would say that, over all, we succeeded in creating a genuine single nation of many peoples. And both those that joined the empire voluntarily and those that initially resisted joining the empire quickly integrated themselves and began to regard Russia as their common homeland. In this way, Russia avoided succumbing to the methods followed by colonial empires, but rather built an integrated, unified state.

Much has changed in the modern world, but historical experience and timeless principles of toleration and co-existence must never be forgotten. They may take on new forms, but their essence never changes. We should strive for cooperation, collaboration, and unity, but never through force, compulsion, or deceit, and never also by subjecting everyone to a single state, but through a spirit of consensus and compromise. And we also must never forget that, along with universal human values and global perspectives, there also exist the unique and extraordinary qualities of each culture, which we must respect, even if for us these cultures are very different from our own or even completely incomprehensible to us, given our own cultural heritage.

I agree completely with the words of President Vladimir Putin: “Attempts to create a unipolar world have failed. We are already living in different times. Russia has always clung to a point that we must respect the interests of others while defending our own. This is how we are going to build our relations with our colleagues.”

 

The changes taking place seem today to touch directly upon the issues of ideology. Recently, the internationalist liberal lobby suffered a number of dramatic setbacks — Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential elections, and so on. Does this mean, in your opinion, that liberalism has run its course?

The battle over ideas will never be over so long as the world exists. And all ideas, including liberal ones, will always exist. All ideologies, all doctrines share some common, underlying ideas, after all. No rational conservative would oppose freedom, and no rational liberal would reject the need for order and the safeguarding of tradition. Here, then, it is not a question of the complete rejection of others’ ideas, but rather a question of priorities and emphases. But when fanaticism and dogmatism win the day, when double standards are applied, any ideology can be taken to an absurd extreme. Liberals of the 19th to mid-20th centuries would be horrified by what today goes by the name of liberalism. And conservatives of the past would not recognize what passes for conservatism today.

It’s not that the ideals of Freedom and Reform or the ideals of Order and Tradition are bad. They all embrace timeless human values. But people begin to subvert these values, to turn them inside out, and to confuse and misunderstand them. And under the label of this very liberalism we risk falling into actual totalitarianism.

The modern Western interpretation of liberalism and the model created in accordance with this interpretation are undergoing a serious crisis. I wouldn’t say we are looking at a complete collapse, but it is quite obvious that the Western world is in dire need of a reappraisal of its principles, which had up to now been thought of as self-evidently true and unassailable.

Russia’s long history of forging constructive multi-national and multi-religious relations, in building bridges between tradition and modernism—these experiences might be very useful models for Europe and America. And it is quite possible that some politicians, who don’t want to build these bridges and constructive relationships, and who are pursuing only their own narrow, selfish goals rather than thinking of the good of their own countries, are seeking to do all they can to ignite conflict with Russia.

 

Your grandfather, Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, once expressed the view that both Communist and liberal ideals and concepts would one day be replaced with more genuine, humane values found more often than not in the right—religious, national, and traditional values. What are your views on this?

My grandfather lived in an era characterized by a bipolar world, when on one side there stood a godless totalitarian system, led by the Communist regime of the USSR, and on the other, the so-called Free World, which proclaimed the ideas of liberalism and democracy.

For my grandfather, Communism was an unacceptable option—not, of course, because of its social ideas and its striving for a just distribution of wealth, but because of its anti-religious, aggressively materialistic worldview and terroristic methods of rule. The Free World at that time still declared its adherence to Christian values. But my grandfather did not deceive himself either about the compatibility of these traditional elements with liberalism. He saw how the seeds of materialism and totalitarianism were gradually being sown and sprouting even in the Free World. These qualities may not have been rooted in Communism, but they were no less godless and cruel.

In his speeches and public addresses, no matter where he was or what audience he stood in front of, my grandfather always warned not only about the “Leftist” materialism, cynicism, and egoism, but also about the evil of the “Right.” This evil could clothe itself in many forms. And you can’t divide people by formal categories, by their party membership or by mindless, predetermined declarations. One must engage in dialogue with all people, to see in them before anything else not those qualities that tear us apart and cause conflict, but rather those that bring us together, and to seek in all social and political communities, whatever they may be, not enemies but potential friends.

My grandfather believed that the role of a chief national arbiter could be filled by reigning monarchs and even by the heads of dynasties, who had been removed from power and no longer reigned. And my mother and I believe this too.

Of course, the idea of monarchy, which we strive to embody and preserve, is founded on religious and traditional national values. An atheistic or totally secular monarchy simply isn’t possible. The lives and service of the members of the House of Romanoff are wholly determined by Orthodoxy and Russian patriotism. But we hold all our compatriots as brothers and sisters—those who profess another religion, those who hold to political ideas of the Left or the Right, conservatives and liberals alike. The only things we reject are fanaticism, extremism, and intolerance. But not even such people as these do we regard as our enemies, but rather we hope that they will listen to us and reconsider their views.

The monarchist idea is outside party politics by its very nature. It cannot set itself up against anyone. And if at some point Russia should choose to return to a monarchy, this would entail not the elimination of some ideas or parties, but rather the harmonization of all parties and ideas for the good of the country.

 

Do you think the monarchy has something to offer 21st-century society? Are there any prospects for the re-establishment of the monarchy in our time?

We are sensibly and carefully assessing the situation and we see that, at present and for the foreseeable future, there is little prospect for the re-establishment of the monarchy. This moment in history has given us a strong presidential republic. It is accepted by the majority of the Russian people; and my mother and I, as citizens of Russia, fully recognize and respect this choice of the people, we support the present government, and we do not participate in any forms of political activity of any kind.

But at the same time, we continue to be convinced that the monarchist idea of the Family-State is eternal, and that it has not and cannot become obsolete or fade away forever into the past.

We believe that the principle of a monarchy that is independent of all party interests and, as a result, fully objective as a national arbiter, which provides a living symbol of continuity across the more than 1000-year history of our country, which is neutral as to party politics even as it is close to the people, that is responsible before God in its ideological foundations and in its very nature—that principle may again be useful to our countrymen in the future.

And we have every right to talk publically about our views of the advantages of monarchy over a republic. This right is guaranteed to us under Article 13 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which guarantees freedom of thought and speech.

But we categorically reject the idea that monarchy should in any way be forced upon the people.

At the very core of such a re-established monarchy would be consensus, conciliarity, and national unity. And such a state can be established only when a genuine majority (not 50.1% vs. 49.9%, as in formal democracies, but a genuinely overwhelming majority) accept the essential idea of monarchy: when it becomes accepted generally that monarchy is not simply the reign of one person, but a system of ideals, of spiritual, legal, and cultural principles, and of structures and institutions; when the overwhelming majority come to appreciate objectively its strengths and shortcomings (which, as with any earthly government, it certainly has), and make a rational, informed decision to restore it.

 

Public opinion in Russia today is sharply divided. The catastrophe of the Revolution, the Red Terror, mass repressions, including the murders of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers—these are all issues that have been assessed very differently morally and ethically. Is there any hope, in your view, that the wounds inflicted on our society by the godless and misanthropic Bolshevik ideology will ever be healed?

I not only have hope, but a very firm conviction, that reconciliation and mutual forgiveness are necessary and possible, and that without them Russia simply cannot exist.

The wounds in our society were not inflicted by Bolshevism alone. Indeed, often they were inflicted or deepened by those who declared their anti-Communism, their devotion to the monarchy, and fidelity to the Church.

Many people never noticed that, in fighting against Bolshevism, they were themselves adopting Bolshevik methods. After all, Bolshevism is not in fact some beautiful idea about building a more just society, but a political ideology built on totalitarianism, and the implementation in practice of violence and intimidation, hatred for dissenters, and disregard for human dignity. But if within the framework of a materialistic worldview such methods have, at least, a logical explanation, then for people of faith, especially for the followers of the Teachings of Christ, this is completely unacceptable and self-destructive.

We like always to quote the immortal words of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer Emperor Nicholas II, which were relayed while he was in confinement, not long before he was executed, by his daughter, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna: “Father asked me to convey to everyone who remains loyal to him, and to those upon whom they might have some influence, his earnest request that they not take revenge for his sake, because my father has already forgiven all and prays for all, and that they not take revenge for their own sakes either, but remember always that the evil that is in this world may get stronger, but evil will never be defeated by evil. Only love can defeat evil.”

In these words are found all that is ever needed to overcome even the most painful and wounding divisions in our society.

We should be willing not only to forgive, but also to ask for forgiveness. For there are none who have not sinned, and we bear our own share of the blame for the Revolution, and for everything that led up to it and resulted from it. Following the lead of my mother, I repeat that we should not demand repentance from others, but rather set an example by our own repentance. And then many of those who are now stubbornly and aggressively rejecting the ideals we hold so dear, will begin to hear us and not shove away the hand that is outstretched to them, and they themselves will be able to rethink their views and acknowledge their own mistakes and errors.

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