To all Russians and to all those who deliberately or by mere coincidence find themselves on the Romanov¹ Family Site, greetings from the President of the Romanov Family Association.
I wish to give you all some information about the genesis of the Romanov Family Association, of which I have had the honour of presiding over since 1990.
The Romanov Family Association
After the October revolution², the members of the Romanov Family, who were able to leave Russia and avoid the fate of sixteen of their relatives, found themselves in various countries, usually close to their European relatives.
Between the two wars, when hope of a quick return to the homeland practically disappeared, a few of the then younger generation of Romanov Princes looked for suitable employment elsewhere and two or three settled definitively outside Europe.
Most of the Princes and Princesses of Russia chose their spouses among the members of great historic Russian families as they could no longer bear the idea of seeking a husband or a wife in the traditional German breeding grounds. They considered Germany the main reason of all Russia's ills, which began with the war declared on Russia in 1914 and, last but not least, for the poisoned gift from Germany to Russia in the form of Lenin, who crossed Germany in a sealed train carriage to eventually reach Russia.
During World War II, particularly after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, many Romanovs tried to do their part. Some served in the British navy, others were active in the Resistance in France, while after the Liberation some were finally able to work with the Allied Forces against Germany which by attacking the Soviet Union had in fact attacked their old homeland - Russia.
After the end of the 1939-1945 war, the Romanov Diaspora was accentuated. Members of our Family are at present living in Denmark, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America.
Some years after the end of World War II, some of the Princes of Russia, realizing how tenuous the links between the members of the Romanov Family had become, decided to do something about it. The first idea originated with the heads of the three branches of our Family, Prince Vsevolod Ioannovich, Prince Roman Petrovich and Prince Andrew Alexandrovich. The thought of creating some organism so as to strengthen the links between a Family so dispersed across the world. In the beginning, progress was very slow compared to the present possibility of communicating in real time, yet progress was made.
In 1978, after the death of my father Prince Roman Petrovich and whilst organizing his papers, I, to my great surprise, found a scheme for the creation of a Family Association was practically ready. I then wrote to all the members of the Family, who had been in contact with my father and they all agreed that the idea of creating a Family Association would have to be pursued.
In 1979, seven Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial, Their Highnesses the Princes Andrew Alexandrovich, Dimitri Alexandrovich, Vassili Alexandrovich, Her Serene Highness Princess Catherine Ioannovna, as well as Their Highnesses the Princess Vera Constantinovna, Marina Petrovna and Nadejda Petrovna, all born before the March 1917 revolution, jointly decided the creation of the ROMANOV FAMILY ASSOCIATION, henceforth referred to as the RFA, which, in Russian, was to be called «Объединение членов рода Романовых»
It is important to quote two among the first articles of the statute of the RFA, as they clearly indicate the intent and the wish of the Founders not to involve the RFA in any possible dynastic quarrel.
Article 3 of the Statute reads: "The principal aim of the RFA is to foster closer ties between the members of the RFA."
Article 4 of the Statute reads:
"1. The RFA must not express opinions as to the rights and duties of its members due their relation to the Fundamental Laws of the Empire and to the Regulation of the Imperial Family."
"2. The members of the RFA agree that all questions concerning the form of government in Russia and consequently also all matters of a dynastic character have been transmitted to the will of the great Russian people based on "general, direct, equal and secret voting" by the Manifest of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, which followed the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II."
"3. All differences between members of the RFA must be resolved within the RFA, if necessary with the co-operation of the President."
As the next step, the founding Princes and Princesses proposed to all Princes and Princesses born after the revolution of March 1917, whose addresses were known and whose desire to be part of the RFA was obvious, to confirm their agreement to become members of the RFA.
The new members accepted in the RFA in order of the arrival of their letter of acceptance were the following Princes and Princesses: Nikolai Romanovich (1979), Nikita Nikitich (1979), Xenia Andreevna (1979), Elizaveta Nikolaievna (1979), Andrey Andreevich sen. (1979), Natalya Nikolaievna (1979), Mihail Feodorovich (1979), Mihail Mihailovich (1979), Tatiana Nikolaievna (1979), Feodor Nikitich (1979), Dimitri Romanovich (1979), Alexandr Nkitich (1979), Nadejda Dmitrievna (1979), Rostislav Rostislavich sen. (1980), Mihail Andreevich (1980), Marina Vasilievna (1980), Stefana Rostislavna (1980), Olga Andreevna (1980), Alexey Andreevich (1981), Alexandra Rostislavna (1982), Rostislav Rostislavich jun. (1985), Nikita Rostislavich (1987), Petr Andreevich (1996), Pavel Dmitrievich (1996), Andrey Andreevich jun. (1998), Michael Pavlovich (1998), Pavla Pavlovna (1998), Ekaterina Dmitrievna (2000), Dmitri Pavlovich (2006), Viktoria Dmitrievna (2006), Lela Dmtrievna (2006) and Anna Pavlovna (2006). The names are written phonetically as they appear in Russian in the official documents of the RFA.
The first President of the RFA was Prince Dmitri Alexandrovich and following his death the presidency passed to Prince Vassili Alexandrovich, with Prince Nicholas Romanovich as Vice-President during the first two presidencies. After the death of Prince Vassili Alexandrovich, the presidency was assumed by Prince Nicholas Romanovich, at first as Vice-President Prince Nikita Nikitich and later Prince Mihail Andreevich.
In 1992, the General Assembly of the RFA decided to create the post of Honorary President and offered it to a senior member of the Romanov Family, Princess Vera Constantinovna. The General Assembly of the RFA also decided to create the posts of Honorary Members for descendants of Romanov Grand Duchesses and Princesses, and widows and widowers of Romanov Princes or Princesses, preferably persons interested in the RFA and who continued to show close ties to the Family.
In 1992, Maria Illarionovna, widow of Prince Nikita Alexandrovich, and Tihon Nicolaievich Kulikovsky, son of the late Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, now both deceased, and Prince David Pavlovich Chavchavadze, son of the late Princess Nina Gheorghievna were appointed as Honorary Members of the RFA. In 1998, a descendant of Grand Duchess Catherine Michailovna, Prince Emmanuil Galitzine, now deceased, Xenia Sfiris, grand-daughter of Princess Irina Alexandrovna, and more recently H.R.H. Prince Michael of Greece, grandson of Grand Duchess Olga of Russia, Queen of the Hellenes, H.R.H. Prince Michael of Kent, grandson of Grand Duchess Helen Wladimirovna and great-grandson of Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna, Queen of the Hellenes, Marquis Ivan Farace di Villaforesta, son of the late Princess Ekaterina Ioannovna, and Paul Edward Kulikovsky, great grandson of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna were appointed Honorary Members.
The present composition of the RFA consists of 21 persons, of which 10 Princes, 6 Princesses, as well as 5 gentlemen Honorary Members and 1 lady Honorary Member.
In 1992, the RFA already progressing in uniting the Family achieved a first sign that the dispersed Romanovs were finally coming together. A meeting was held in Paris on June 27 with the participation of Nicholas Romanovich, Dimitri Romanovich, Michail Feodorovich, Nikita Nikitich, Alexander Nikitich and Rostislav Rostislavich sen. They decided to create a fund acting as a suitable instrument for benevolent activities in a Russia shedding the symbols of communism. The record of the activities of the fund is annually reported by its Chairman, Prince Dimitri Romanovich.
The grand occasion of an almost complete gathering of the Romanov Family occurred in 1998 in St. Petersburg at the burial of the remains of the imperial victims of the Ekaterinburg massacre in the Cathedral of Saints Peter-and-Paul. More than forty Romanovs and Romanov close relatives attended this moving ceremony. Moreover, prior to this ceremony, Prince Dimitri Romanovich, representing the imperial family, had also alone taken part in all the official ceremonies in Ekaterinburg.
Although in Russia on July 17 1998, Princess Maria Wladimirovna chose to be absent from both ceremonies in spite of the fact that at the beginning of the same year she had sent a letter to most European Sovereigns inviting them to be present at the impending burial of her "predecessor" Emperor Nicholas II, an invitation written in a pompous and old fashioned style, which remained mainly unanswered.
20 March 2010
1 The name Romanov can be spelt both Romanov or Romanoff.
2 Reference is made to the October revolution in 1917.