Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna: ''We, as I remember, visited Tatarstan for the first time in 1993''

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna: ''We, as I remember, visited Tatarstan for the first time in 1993'' Photo: kabansk.org

The head of the Romanov Dynasty, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, in the interview to our Moscow columnist Radik Amirov told why she loves Tatarstan, why there are many monarchists in Crimea and what she thinks about the film Matilda. Read more in the interview to Realnoe Vremya.

''Marvelous mosque of Kazan, wonderful land!''

Your Highness, with your permission, I'll turn to the topic of the Volga region. More precisely, Tatarstan. You have visited this region several times and it is important for us to know your opinion about the republic.

Every time I visit Tatarstan I see how the Republic becomes better and better. We have been there recently once again… Marvelous mosque of Kazan, wonderful land! This means that people invest huge energy in the home, care and attention in their Homeland. Wise people and wise government. They help each other in mutual understanding and work for themselves.

We, as I remember, visited in Tatarstan for the first time in 1993. Here, as throughout Russia, the situation was very difficult… But from year to year, from trip to trip, it is noticeable that in the Republic a lot has changed and only for the better. I have always been warmly welcomed. Last year Kazan hosted a meeting of Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko, Director of the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research with journalists and university students. From this meeting there grew a lot of interesting initiatives.

Let's remember Sviyazhsk. How much time and effort the first President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev put in its recreating. How much effort the current government of the Republic invests in the preservation and development of spirituality.

I always have warm memories about the region. My family and I will be happy to come to Tatarstan.

''Let's remember Sviyazhsk. How much time and effort the first President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev put in its recreating. How much effort the current government of the Republic invests in the preservation and development of spirituality.'' Photo: Mikhail Kozlovsky

I can assure you that you in Tatarstan and the country as a whole will be welcomed at a very good level. Tatar hospitality is the law for all Tatars.

No doubt it is true.

Many people say that in the tsarist times it was hard to live for foreigners and adherents of different faiths in Russia. What do you think?

I think that Russia at all times treated non-Orthodox beliefs with respect. At least we know that, for example, during a long voyage on military vessels for Orthodox believers there was a priest. But on Fridays, if possible, Muslims were free to leave at any port in order to pray and thereby commit spiritual duty. Moreover, sailors of Muslim confession were not just allowed to pray but even provided search mosques and mullahs.

When the oath was taken, Orthodox soldiers swore an oath of faithful service to the gospel, and Muslims — on the Koran.

So there was respect for representatives of other faiths — Muslims, Buddhists. Catherine II did much in order Buddhism became the third official religion of the Russian Empire. So Buddhists remember it perfectly. When I was in Ulan-Ude, I have repeatedly received respect for the actions of Catherine II.

Catherine II did much in order Buddhism became the third official religion of the Russian Empire

''The Emperor was young, maybe there was some romance''

Catherine the Great is also very important figure for the Tatars. She did many things for the Muslims, in particular, during the expedition to Kazan, the Empress gave many liberties to faithful, which had not been earlier in our history.

I am absolutely agree with you. Therefore, Orthodox, Muslims and Buddhists remember her good deeds in the name of the Fatherland. And those who are looking for some sort of difficulties… Well, God will judge them. You can look at and study the Royal archives, everything is written here. There is no doubt that everywhere there are conflicts and there are people whom need to blow up something. Somehow, the focus in the deeds of the Emperor or Empress is done only on the negative or lying. And the fact that many peoples and religions have peacefully lived in Russia for many centuries in the tsarist time – for some little they say a little about it.

Today, when many countries are involved in war, and sometimes it's civil conflicts, Russia was and is an example of good neighbourliness and peace between peoples. But it was not born all at once, in a short time. Hence, the principles of goodness were laid in tsarist times.

Your Highness, why among the inhabitants of Crimea there are so many monarchists?

Probably because everyone at the time lived pretty good! Luxurious, rich land and wealthy people. They looked on the Emperor like on father, and the Emperor on them like on his own children. So, there was no conflict with inhabitants of Crimea, including the Crimean Tatars. That's why I believe the Peninsula was committed to the ideas of monarchism.

Now our society is divided into different camps. I mean the movie Matilda. I'd like to know your opinion about it.

It is a pity that such films spread lies and slander. Yes, not the first and not the last time. Apparently, people tend to be known through such ''works''. One should not place importance on this.

Mathilde Kschessinska. Photo by Karl Bulla

I do not support the idea to ban this film as such decision will only advertise and give a worthy film a tempting character of ''forbidden fruit''.

But as a family member, I will say that it is unpleasant to see and hear a lie about their own family. The Emperor was young, maybe there was some romance. But nothing more. I think that's enough to talk about it.

How the Emir of Seville gave the Romanov Arab blood

I have heard that in you flows the blood of descendants of Prophet Muhammad. Is it really so?

Yes, it is. I am very proud of and always underline the fact when visiting the Arab and not only the Arab countries.

The origin transmitted through the Emir of Seville. He intermarried with kings of Spain. Then it moved to other European dynasty. The daughter of Peter the Great, Princess Anna Petrovna married Duke Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp, from whom stretched the thread to the Prophet. Thus, the House of Romanov also became a carrier of this blood.

When I met with the mufti of Istanbul, he started a conversation on this topic, as he is also a descendant of Prophet Muhammad. He told me how in the Muslim world there recognized the validity / invalidity of legends. Sometimes there are doubts, and sometimes there are not. As for the House of Romanov, in the Islamic world regarding this fact [relation to Prophet] there is no doubt.

''The mufti of Istanbul told how in the Muslim world there recognized the validity / invalidity of legends. Sometimes there are doubts, and sometimes there are not.'' Photo: imperialhouse.ru

I thank you, your Highness, that you have found an opportunity to talk and answer the questions.

I also thank you for your attention to the Imperial house. I hope, it is not last our meeting.

By Radik Amirov