Saturday, January 26, 2019

Kirillovite Branch of the House of Romanov has Less Support than Some Think, Historian Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 25 – Those of us trained 50 years ago as sovietologists could hardly imagine a future in which there would be learned discussions in Russia of the problem of dynastic succession in the House of Romanov, with various scholars supporting one or another branch of that complicated and long-suffering family.

            But that is exactly what is happening now, with some Russian writers doing everything they can, including falsifying “evidence,” to promote one branch of the family, while others seek to point out why the arguments of their opponents lack any historical foundation – even though most Russians have little interest in monarchy let alone the details of this fight.

            Fortunately for those interested, there has emerged what might be called “a guide for the perplexed” in the works of Andrey Kostryukov, a Moscow historian who specializes in the complex record of the Russian emigration and especially its attitudes toward the pretenders to the Rusisan throne.

            In a new essay, he examines the history of the attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad toward the Kirillovites, Kirill father, Vladimir the son, and Mariya granddaughter and shows the church however sympathetic some of its hiearchs may have been never recognized them as tsars or tsarinas (

                This may seem a small thing, but it is rooted in the fact that Kirill appeared to recognize and support the Provisional Government in March 1917, to the outrage of monarchists of all stripes, that Vladimir played a less than sterling role during World War II, and Mariya is neither male nor the product of an entirely legitimate succession.   

            But given the extinction of the Nikolaevites, the competing branch of the Romanov family in the 1920s, and the problems with other more distant relatives, many Russian monachists and some officials playing at monarchy have pushed the Kirillovites forward and justified it by the recognition they supposedly have from the Russian Church Abroad.

            The works of Kostyukov, not just this article but others and entire books, are making the achievement of their goals more difficult; and thus deserve attention because they are likely to make that task completely impossible.

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