When he signed “the boy who would be tsar”, the old artist Andreï Andreïevich Romanov (also known as Andrew Andreyevich Romanoff) was, surprisingly, third in the lately chaotic succession line of Russia, although earlier in life he would never have guessed that his cousins Nicholas and Dimitri, of the same generation, would both stay childless. The twenty years-long head of the Romanov house Nicholas died in september 2014, followed by his brother Dimitri on december 31, 2016. Actually Dimitri headed the imperial house just long enough to receive the state invitation to come back to Russia, and he died on the exact eve of this milestone year 2017.
The official invitation launched in june 2015, for the millennial of the death of Saint Vladimir the baptist of Russia, was also extended to Maria Vladimirovna, the self-calling “grand-duchess” (a title exclusively reserved to children and grandchildren of a reigning emperor) who claims the Tsarhood of Kiril, the 1924 self-proclaimed “tsar” never recognised by the Zemski Sobor nor the imperial house (and never reigning). Understandably, the current government cannot interfer in dynastic disputes, but it has to bring and give to Russia what the orphan country needs. Since, according to the antiquated and imperfect “Pauline” succession rules (that only an emperor in function can amend) nobody is formally eligible, the first (next) person to represent the imperial inheritage within the state can only be installed per exception. Providence will then settle the case and seal the transition. But it is impossible to embody a ghost, or a would-be in absentia (abroad). Russia needs a Romanov in Russia.
Among the most obvious advantages of any hereditary system of succession is that, since nobody choses the one (who ideally cannot refuse his duty), he is totally independent from pressure powers. But fate does sometimes do really well. An anointment of the old childless Nicholas or Dimitri would not have prevented a succession contest to appear, from the Kiril branch, at the death of Dimitri. An anointment of Andreï Andreïevich means an automatic succession by his son Alexis Andreïevich, born in 1953, bringing therefore a stability expectancy of (according to the three precedents) about thirty years, largely enough to secure and normalise the position before the question of his own succession. Providence did provide. Now men (Andreï and Alexis) must comply with their call to duty. They will be fed there.
In June 2015, while the Leningrad Region proposed to officially host the invited returnees in an imperial residency in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Petrov proposed also the Livadia palace in Crimea, therefore obviously speaking in behalf of the presidency of the Federation. The protocolar position would be to represent and in body the dynasty and the nation, and was then compared to the position of the king or queen in nowadays United Kingdom and Netherlands. Of course the government could only pass the authority it has, meaning constitutional. From a constitutional law point of view, and alike an emperor, an institutionally recognised embodiment of the imperial history (which is the position currently proposed by the Russian government) cannot be promoted above by any body of lower hierarchy, therefore to go further Russia will need to resort to the only bodies that have more historical and social legitimacy than the current constitutional state, that is the Church and the civil society. This could come later, the Russian peoples realising again that a big country cannot rely on the good will of temporary elected fill-in volunteers but needs a stable institution providing a long-term direction regardless of the merits, competencies and longevity of individuals.
As for now, the Russian government is ready to give, within the state, a permanent institutional status to the imperial family before the commemorations of the revolution and the assassinations. Russia urgently needs to attribute the honorary presidency of the 2017 re-conciliatory celebrations. Further events belong to future History.
May Dimitri rest in peace. May Andreï and Alexis move on now.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.