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Topics - Charles

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« on: April 19, 2005, 09:57:25 AM »
An interesting article from today's news

April 19, 2005
[from RIA Novosti's digest of the Russian press]

Some members of Russian aristocratic families, who owned palaces and mansions before the 1917 Revolution, have intervened in the upcoming
privatization of historical monuments in Russia.

They are indignant at the fact that the state is going to sell out their property. The members of the best-known noble families in Russia  the Obolenskys, Shakhovskois and others  have decided to hold a meeting in St.
Petersburg, where their ancestors lived.

According to Boris Turovsky, chief of the St. Petersburg department of the Russian Imperial Union-Order (an organization of Russian aristocrats living abroad), practically all buildings in the center of Russia's northern
capital have legitimate inheritors. Now that the sale of historical buildings begins in Russia, the state faces new problems. It looks like these buildings will have two owners  a purchaser and an heir, who will be
able to prove his property rights in an international court, Turovsky said.

"We simply want the state to admit officially that privatization in the 1920s was unlawful and apologize officially for driving people from their houses and country, humiliating them," Turovsky said.

In the opinion of Princess Vera Obolenskaya, a citizen of France, the Russian state should recognize the right of the heirs to take part in the fate of historical monuments. "We feel for Russia. We are of the Rurich
stock and are used to do something for our country during eleven centuries," said Prince Dmitry Shakhovskoi, who is also a citizen of France.

There can be two approaches to the aristocrats' claims, said Alexei Komech, one of Russia's most competent experts in the monuments of architecture, who heads the Art History Institute. Real estate may be returned to them under a general denationalization law, but such a law does not exist. And there is yet another possibility of doing this in keeping with the present
privatization laws  privileged restitution procedures may be used.

The demands of the heirs are supported by Alexander Chuyev, a member of the lower house of the Russian parliament. A moral assessment of nationalization should be made on the state level and apologies should be presented. And if historical monuments are privatized while the rights of their former owners are ignored, it will be unlawful, he said.

News Links / A New Tsar
« on: April 08, 2005, 08:07:22 AM »
Found the following very interesting article today in the Russian news.  Having studied contemporary Russian monarchism for years, I still put very little possibility in there ever being another Tsar in Russia.

Noviye Izvestia
April 8, 2005

Some among Russia's political elite seem to be thinking again of reinstatement of monarchy in the country, seeing a sedate and attractive person on top of the state as a possible way to regain undermined popular
support for the authorities.

One rival for the Russian throne is HRH Prince Michael of Kent, grand-nephew to the last Russian emperor Nicolas II and cousin to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

The Kremlin-tied Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky is Prince Michael's greatest advocate in Russia. Once he even admitted having inculcated the Russian elite with high ideas about the Prince for a year.

For the record, many experts believe Mr. Belkovsky's memo was key to the beginning of the Yukos trial.

Belkovsky describes his agenda as not official reinstatement of monarchy  which he does not rule out, though  but regaining the authority of supreme power by discriminating between power and government. The
supreme power needs to have nothing to do with socially unpopular decision-making, he argues. From his perspective, a liberal model with the bearer of supreme power acting as a hired manager is antithetic to the
nature of Russian statehood.

As a Romanovs' relative, Prince Michael should be viewed as a legitimate candidate for the Russian crown, Mr. Belkovsky says. He also argues that foreigners  outsiders to the Russian political establishment  have always played a constructive part in the country's history.

Gennady Gudkov, a United Russia lawmaker in the State Duma, completely rules out monarchy as an option for today's Russia.

"However, absolute power as a crown to the current feudal-bureaucratic system [of government] is what bureaucrats are seeking. More, they are trying to incline the President accordingly. Whatever title they might give to what they are going to build, they want it to be monarchy in fact," Mr. Gudkov said.

While this only focuses on the events of 1905, this is one of the best books on Nicholas II.  I highly recommend it.  (Yes, there are no pictures.)

Palaces in St. Petersburg / Palace of GD Alexei Aleksandrovitch
« on: April 16, 2004, 01:22:41 PM »
One of the most architecturally interesting palaces in St. Petersburg is GD Aleksei Aleksandrovich's palace on the Moika.  I am curious to learn what state it is in.  As a student in St. Petersburg in the early 1990s, I often visited the palace, but have not seen it since 1995 (or so).  I will be in St. Petersburg in June and will defintely go by.  I am hoping that someone undertook a project to renovate this jewel.

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