Under no pretext can we admit to the throne those whose ancestors belonged to parties involved in the 1917 revolution in one way or another. Nor can we admit those whose ancestors betrayed Tsar Nicholas II. Nor can we ignore those who ancestors openly supported the Nazis. Thus, without any reservations, the right to the succession to the throne of the Kirillovich branch should be excluded
In mid-July 2015, descendants of the Romanov dynasty were caught in the spotlight of the Russia media. Journalists reported that the “descendants of the imperial dynasty [Maria Vladimirovna and her son George Mikhailovich] intend to appeal to the Russian authorities with a request to grant official status to the Russian Imperial House and provide them with a residence in Moscow.” The message received conflicting responses.
Representatives of the Russian nobility Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky, Alexander Trubetskoy, Pyotr Sheremetev and Sergey Kapnist took an irreconcilable position in relation to granting special status to the so-called “heirs to the throne”. In their letter to the President of Russia, they stated that Maria Vladimirovna had no right to call herself the Head of the House of Romanov, also drawing to attention of the close ties both her father Vladimir Kirillovich and paternal grandparents Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
In the years leading up to the Second World War, a number of representatives of the European royal houses also courted Fascist regimes. Even Mussolini proved in practice the possibility of combining a fascist dictatorship and the monarchy. King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, in turn, was a staunch supporter of the Duce regime. After the war, all male members of the House of Savoy were required to leave the country. The British monarch King Edward VIII did not hide his open sympathies for Hitler either, nor did Prince Bernard, the husband of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, who was both a member of the Nazi Party and the SS. Until the end of his life Bernard was forced to make excuses for his “uncomfortable episodes of his anxious youth.”
Of course, the scions of the German royal families, easily found themselves in various posts in the Hitlerite state. The Romanovs were no exception, many of whom openly supported the “brown movement”, naively hoping that Hitler would help them defeat the Bolsheviks and restore the monarchy in Russia.
From the moment of the revolution and the abolition of the monarchy in Russia in 1917, numerous representatives of the Russian Imperial House who found themselves in exile had heated debates among themselves over the possession of what was now a non-existent throne [the Russian Imperial House ended with the murder of Emperor Nicholas II on 17th July 1918].
At the time of the 1917 Revolution, Kirill was next in line to the throne, however, in exile, the sympathies of the majority of Russian refugees tended to favour Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich (1856-1929), the former Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Army. Naturally, he was fully supported by such an influential organization of the Russian diaspora as the Russian General Military Union (ROVS). However, in connection with the death of Nikolai Nikolaevich in January 1929, those in the pursuit of a “revived Russian Empire” passed to the Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich (1876-1936), and then to his descendants.
It is important to note that those members of Nicholas II’s family who managed to flee Russia following the revolution, did NOT support Grand Duke Kirill’s claim. Among those were the Tsar’s mother Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928); and his sisters Grand Duchesses Xenia (1875-1960) and Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960). They never forgave Kirill for his premature recognition of the Provisional Government, nor did they support his claim as “Emperor” to the non existent Russian throne, as it carried “no dynastic validity”.
Opponents of the “Kirillovichs” fiercely disputed this branch of the Romanovs any rights as claimants to the defunct Russian throne. Among the arguments were often accusations of support by Kirill, his wife Victoria, as well as their children – primarily the Grand Duke Vladimir (1917-1992) – of German National Socialism.
PHOTO: Grand Duke Kirill with his wife Grand Duchess Victoria
and their children Kira and Vladimir. St. Briac. 1930s
Kirill was born on 12th October 1876 in Tsarskoye Selo. He was considered one of the brightest and most extravagant representatives of the Russian Imperial Family. At the same time, his behaviour (both in secular life and in the naval service) were a constant thorn in the side of the dynasty. Kirill, a regular at the most fashionable cafes in St. Petersburg, was noted for his haughty and nasty demeanour towards senior officers, often neglecting his official duties.
Kirill created a real scandal when he entered into an incestuous marriage with his first cousin – Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Victoria Melita (1876-1936). The latter was married to Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse (1868-1937), brother of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. In 1901, their marriage was dissolved, and on 8th October 1905, Victoria and Kirill got married in the Bavarian resort town of Tegernsee, where the Grand Duke was undergoing treatment for nervous depression.
Their marriage, however, was in violation of the house law which forbid the marriage of any member of the Imperial Family without the advance permission of the Tsar. Kirill’s marriage also violated the canon of the Russian Orthodox Church prohibiting marriages between cousins.
As a result, the Tsar stripped Kirill of his imperial allowance and title of Imperial Highness, his honours and decorations, his position in the navy and then banished him from Russia. In 1907 Nicholas II took mercy and, after Victoria converted to Orthodoxy, legalized the scandalous wedding by a personal decree. The tsar restored Kirill Vladimirovich and Victoria Fedorovna to the rights of members of the Imperial House, including the right to the throne.
In the same year, Victoria and Kirill had a daughter, Maria, in 1909, Kira, and in 1917, a son, Vladimir.
During the revolutionary events of February 1917, Kirill broke his oath of allegiance to the Tsar and thereby committed high treason. Putting on a red bow, he arrived at the State Duma at the head of the Guards crew and reported it to its chairman, Mikhail Rodzianko: “I have the honour to appear to Your Excellency. I am at your disposal, like the rest of the people.” It is interesting to note, that by doing this, Kirill Vladimirovich protected himself from arrest, which many other members of the Russian Imperial Family had already been subjected to.
Shortly thereafter, Kirill and his family wasted little time in making arrangements to get out of Russia. In March, they illegally left for Finland, eventually settling in Victoria’s family estate in Coburg, Germany, where Victoria Fedorovna’s cousin, Karl Edward Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1884-1954) lived. In 1922, the Duke took a direct part in organizing the Day of the Nation in Coburg. Among the most honoured guests at this event was Adolf Hitler and his supporters.
It is interesting to note that during the Third Reich, Karl Edward, in gratitude for his financial support of the Nazis in the 1920s, was appointed Gruppenfuehrer of the Storm Troops, the Reich Commissioner for Transport, a Reichstag deputy and the President of the German Red Cross.
He later joined the Nazi Party as well as the Sturmabteilung (SA, or Brownshirts), in which he reached the position of Obergruppenführer. Charles Edward served in a number of positions in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, including President of the German Red Cross from 1933–45
PHOTO: Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess
Victoria Feodorovna, living in exile. Saint-Briac, France 1930s
The union of the double-headed eagle and the swastika
Kirill and Victoria settled quite freely in Germany, where they enjoyed an enthusiastic following, who were primarily radical Russian emigrants. In the first years following the 1917 revolution an unusually powerful stream of Russian refugees poured into Germany. By the early 1920s, about half a million exiles from the Land of the Soviets settled here.
At first, Kirill was hesitant to lay claim to his place as “future emperor of Russia”. However, the ambitious strong-willed Victoria and numerous ultra-right Russian monarchists encouraged him. As a result, in 1922, Kirill declared himself “the guardian of the throne”, and in 1924 proclaimed himself “Emperor of Russia Kirill I.” It is curious that almost everyone who at that time was in the circle of those close to the “august person” was also closely associated with the activities of the nascent Nazi party.
In general, in the first years of the existence of the NSDAP [Nazi Party], many emigrants from Russia, mainly Baltic Germans, helped to swell its ranks. Among them were included aristocrats, army officers and politicians, who fought on the side of the Whites. They were seized by the idea that the revolution in Russia was staged by the Jews and that the same thing was about to happen in Western Europe.
PHOTO: Otto von Kurzel (1887-1967) a Russian-born nobleman
Russian Germans, who were equally fluent in Russian and German, formed an intermediate link between the right flank of the Russian diaspora and the Nazis. Among them were many people who remained loyal to the House of Romanov in the person of Kirill. One of the most famous was Otto von Kurzel (1887-1967), a well-known Nazi artist, a member of the NSDAP, who founded the Russian Monarchist Union in Munich.
Influenced by Russian émigrés – the former Black Hundreds – the Nazi Party became fashionable with the expressions “Jewish Bolshevism” and “Soviet Judea”, and soon the stereotype of “Jewish Bolshevism” became the central point of the National Socialist image of the enemy.
Konrad Heiden, the author of a classic study on the early history of Nazism, noted that White Russian émigrés, who stood under the swastika banners, “were eager to involve Germany in the campaign against Lenin … It would be an exaggeration to call early foreign policy of National Socialism tsarist. But in fact, its spiritual origins are in tsarist Russia, in the Russia of the Black Hundreds and the Union of the Russian people”.
The activities of Russian émigrés were published in the central party newspaper, Völkischer Beobachter, and spoke at Nazi meetings. According to one version, the Nazis bought the newspaper itself partly with the money of Russian monarchists. The main ideologist of the party and also a native of the Russian Empire, Alfred Rosenberg, writes in his memoirs that “the most wealthy financial support was provided to the party by White Russian émigrés, who at any cost wanted to get their anti-Soviet propaganda out.”
PHOTO: General Vasily Viktorovich Biskupsky (1878-1945)
One of the main sponsors of Völkischer Beobachter, was General Vasily Viktorovich Biskupsky (1878-1945), a radical monarchist and confidant of Kirill Vladimirovich. It is known that Victoria gave Biskupsky money for the needs of the Nazi Party. Kirill’s enemies at the time claimed that the general and the Grand Duchess were involved in an intimate relationship, which was recorded in police reports.
Despite his reputation as an adventurer, Biskupsky served as Kirill and Victoria’s plenipotentiary representative in Germany. The Grand Duke told his personal secretary, Harold Karlovich Graf (1885-1966), that “in times of trouble you should not be afraid to get your white gloves dirty and rely only on people with an impeccable reputation, usually of little use in political struggle.”
PHOTO: Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter (1884-1923)
An early figure in the unification of the Nazis and radical Russian monarchists was Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter (1884-1923). He was born in Riga, and participated in the suppression of revolutionary uprisings in 1905-1907, and in December 1910 he moved to Munich, where he became an engineer. It was here that the nucleus of the “Russian-Baltic group” had already formed, which later, almost in its entirety, joined the NSDAP. In December 1917, Scheubner-Richter was appointed as an intelligence officer under the commander-in-chief of the Eastern Front in the Baltic States. He actively participated in the struggle against the Bolsheviks, and in 1919 he returned to the Bavarian capital, where through Alfred Rosenberg he established contacts with Russian emigrants.
In November 1920, Scheubner-Richter joined the NSDAP and quickly entered the closest circle of Adolf Hitler. By this time, he was already a member of Kirill’s intimate circle, and his wife Matilda was a close friend of Victoria Feodorovna. At the same time, Scheubner-Richter organized the Russian-German “Renaissance” (Aufbau) Society, the purpose of which was to unite all White Russian émigré forces under the command of Grand Duke Kirill and in alliance with the National Socialists. The plans of the society included the organization of an anti-Bolshevik “crusade”, as a result of which Soviet power would be overthrown and the nationalists would assume power in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic states. Vasily Biskupsky became the deputy of Renaissance.
Biskupsky never broke with the Nazis. After the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch on 9th November 1923 (in the course of these events, Scheubner-Richter died, after which his organization ceased to exist), he sheltered Adolf Hitler in his apartment. At the same time, he continued to play an important role in Grand Duke Kirill’s entourage, being appointed to the post of Minister of War in Kirill’s “government in exile.” Biskupsky welcomed the triumph of the NSDAP in January 1933 and went to Berlin, where he met with various high-ranking party leaders. In May 1936, with the support of the SS and the Ministry of Propaganda, he was appointed head of the Bureau of Russian Refugees.
His task included organizational accounting, control and “nazification” of all Russian emigrants living in Germany. Biskupsky’s closest associates were Pyotr Nikolaevich Shabelsky-Bork (1893-1952) and Sergei Vladimirovich Taboritsky (1897-1980), both former members of the Renaissance Society, who were responsible for the murder of Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov (1869-1922) – the father of the famous Russian writer. With the outbreak of the war, Biskupsky’s department actively cooperated with the SS and the Abwehr [German military intelligence for the Reichswehr and Wehrmacht from 1920 to 1945] in the field of attracting emigrants for the needs of the German army (and in particular intelligence) as translators and agents.
PHOTO: Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna with Adolf Hitler. September 1923
But back to the early 1920s. At this time, Kirill and Victoria made no attempts to hide their sympathy for the Nazi movement. Generous sums for the needs of the party were transferred by them, as a rule, through Biskupsky, as well as through General Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (1865-1937), at that time an ally of Hitler. According to one source the grand ducal couple gave 500 thousand gold marks for the “solution of the German-Russian national question”. In addition, Victoria attended the teachings of the Stormtroopers and sometimes took her young son Vladimir with her.
PHOTO: Boris Lvovovich Brazol (1885-1963)
During the crisis of the first half of the 1920s, Kirill and Victoria suffered significant financial losses. Nevertheless, Biskupsky continued to find and channel significant funds to the Nazis until Hitler came to power. He received most of this money from Victoria. It is not entirely clear where Kirill and Victoria got their financial resources after the 1923 crisis. It is only known that Boris Lvovovich Brazol (1885-1963), who was attracted by Scheubner-Richter to Vozrozhdenie as an anti-Semitic publicist, became president of the Russian Monarchist Club in New York.
During his stay in the United States, Brazol was an ardent supporter of the restoration of the monarchy in Russia and was the official representative of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in the United States. States. He was one of the founders of the Order of the Russian Imperial Union. Several historians associate Brazol’s name with the first American edition of the Protocols of the Scholars of Zion.
Brazol was able to establish contacts with Henry Ford, the richest American automobile industrialist and a rabid anti-Semite. In 1924, when Victoria visited America, Ford allocated a large sum of money for Kirill. Brazol continued to act as an intermediary between Ford and Kirill into the 1930s.
It is important to note, that from 1957, Brazol was in charge of the Central Committee for the Collection of Funds for the Treasury of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich [Kirill’s son].
Over time, the attitude of the Nazis towards the Russians underwent drastic changes. The growing strength of the NSDAP no longer needed the support of the Russian monarchists. After the death of Scheubner-Richter, no one in the party leadership spoke of the possibility of reviving the monarchy – neither in Germany, nor even more so in Russia. Kirill, in turn, also gradually distanced himself – at least outwardly – from the ultra-right radicals.
PHOTO: Home of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in Saint-Briac, France
The Tsar and the Soviets
Since the authorities of the Weimar Republic, not wanting to spoil relations with the USSR, forbade Kirill to engage in political activities, the “Court” moved to Saint-Briac, France at the end of the 1920s . During this time, ties between the Kirillovich and Germany continued as before.
In 1925, Kirill’s first daughter, Maria (1907-1951), married Prince Karl of Leiningen (1898-1946). He served in the naval forces of the Third Reich, at the end of the war he was captured by Soviet soldiers and died in 1946 of typhus. In 1938, Kirill’s second daughter, Kira (1909-1967), married Louis Ferdinand Prince of Prussia (1907-1994), who served as an officer in the Luftwaffe.
As for the “emperor” Kirill, from the moment he moved to France, on the advice of Biskupsky, he began to draw himself closer to Alexander Lvovich Kazem-Bek (1902-1977), who served as head of the Union of Young Russians emigrant organization.
Calling themselves “national revolutionaries”, the Young Russians proclaimed the goal of creating a “social monarchy” that would combine the features of autocracy with the Soviet system. The older generation of Russian émigrés accused Kazem-Bek of sympathizing with Bolshevism (and, as it turned out later, not without reason).
It was at this time that Kazem-Bek invited Kirill’s son Vladimir Kirillovich to most of the organizations major events.
PHOTO: Alexander Lvovich Kazem-Bek (1902-1977)
PHOTO: Vladimir Kirillovich (center) with Alexander Lvovich Kazem-Bek (right),
taking part in a Union of Young Russians rally. December 1930
The popular slogan of the Young Russians at the time, was “The Tsar and the Soviets.” Much in the ideology and external attributes of the Young Russians was taken directly from Italian fascism. Kazem-Bek was the only major Russian émigré politician who received a personal audience with Mussolini. The Young Russians learned from their black-shirt colleagues the principles of one-man management, hierarchy, and class solidarity. The Young Russians greeted their leader with a characteristic raise of their right hand and an exclamation of “Chief!”
However, by the mid-1930s, the Young Russians began to swing to the left, their press began to publish more and more materials that heralded the “Soviet experience”. They even began to call themselves “the second Soviet party”. A scandal occurred when in the summer of 1937 Kazem-Bek was found in one of the Parisian cafes engaged in secret talks with the famous Soviet general Alexei Alekseevich Ignatiev (1877-1954) who had arrived from the USSR.
The leader of the Young Russians was openly accused of being an agent of the Bolsheviks, after which Kirill broke off all relations with him. After the war Kazem-Bek returned to the Soviet Union and until the end of his life worked for the journal of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Friend of the invaders
Meanwhile, hopes for the revival of the monarchy were rapidly dwindling. Therefore, after the death of Kirill in 1938 (Victoria died a year and a half before that, during a visit to Nazi Germany), his son and “heir to the throne” Vladimir Kirillovich made a decision to not declare himself “emperor”, as his foolish father had done.
Generally speaking, Vladimir was much less involved in politics than his father, preferring to lead a secular life. However, this did not save him from reproaches for sympathizing with the Nazis. In 1938, he even made an official statement in which he emphasized that he “never met the German Chancellor,” which was not true, since little Vladimir knew Hitler as the leader of the party which had not yet come to power.
When German troops occupied France, Vladimir Kirillovich chose to stay in Saint-Briac. His relationship with the Germans, was apparently carried out “in an atmosphere of complete mutual understanding.” A few days after the establishment of the “new order” in France, Vladimir was summoned to Paris, to the German ambassador to occupied France Heinrich Otto Abetz (1903-1958). He was very courteous, but warned Vladimir about the need to observe complete loyalty to the Reich. Vladimir Kirillovich adhered to this “line” until the very end of the Second World War.
Grand Duke Kirill with his secretary Harold Karlovich Graf. St. Briac. 1930
It was following this meeting, that Vladimir fired the long-term head of the personal office of the “Imperial House” Harold Karlovich Graf and broke off all relations with him. When the Germans placed the latter under arrest, the Grand Duke made no attempts to try to alleviate the fate of his father’s faithful assistant. [In emigration, Graf converted to Orthodoxy and received the name George]
Graf himself later wrote with bitter regret in his memoirs: “The Grand Duke [Vladimir] fell completely under the influence of the Germans. In addition, the Germans who surrounded him usually belonged to the Gestapo. Most of them are Russian émigrés who serve as German agents and for the French police (Schutzmannschaft, the collaborationist auxiliary police) in a very bad way. Even the restaurants that the Grand Duke visits with them belong to those that are in bad favour with the police and would have long been closed if it were not for the help of the Germans …
“On the Grand Duke’s last visit to Paris, he was sitting in a restaurant, while German songs were sung at his table. From the French point of view, such closeness of the Grand Duke to the occupiers greatly compromised him and should have led to the fact that when the occupation of France was over, he would have to leave.”
PHOTO: Yuri Sergeevich Zherebkov (left) and Colonel V. I. Boyarsky (right)
At this time, the notorious Yuri Sergeevich Zherebkov (1908-1980), a former ballet dancer and the son of a Cossack general, became extremely close to Vladimir Kirillovich. In 1941, he headed the Committee for Mutual Assistance of Russian Emigrants in France, created by the Nazis, an analogue of the German bureau of General Biskupsky. Zherebkov was one of the most implacable anti-Semites and a fierce supporter of the Nazis.
In 1946, a Paris court sentenced Zherebkov to 5 years of “national dishonour”, and in 1948, for aiding in the deportation of Russian Jews, to forced labour for life (however, by that time, the former collaborator had already escaped to Franco’s Spain, where he died at the end 1970s).
It was Zherebkov, following the instructions of his German curators, who was responsible for Vladimir’s “political behaviour”. The most famous result of his activity was Vladimir’s “Appeal”, published on 26th June 1941, on the occasion of the outbreak of the war between Germany and the USSR. It was a direct call to cooperate with the Nazi occupiers. Here is its full text:
Address by the Head of the
Russian Imperial House,
Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich
In this terrible hour, when Germany and almost all the peoples of Europe have declared a crusade against communism-Bolshevism, which has enslaved and oppressed the people of Russia for twenty-four years, I appeal to all the faithful and devoted sons of our Motherland with an appeal: to contribute as much as possible and opportunities for the overthrow of the Bolshevik government and the liberation of our Fatherland from the terrible yoke of communism.
June 26, 1941
However, the Nazis were by no means interested in such an “ally.” They stopped the spread of Vladimir’s appeal and threatened him that if he tried to play some independent political role, he would go straight to the concentration camp.
PHOTO: Prince of the Imperial Blood Gabriel Konstantinovich (1887-1955)
For the sake of objectivity, it should be noted that Kirill Vladimirovich, Victoria Feodorovna and Vladimir Kirillovich were by no means the only representatives of the Russian Imperial Family who openly supported the Nazis. For example, Prince of the Imperial Blood Gabriel Konstantinovich (1887-1955) – the son of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915) – also admired the success of the Fuhrer. On 12th August 1940, in a letter to Lieutenant General Nikolai Golovin (1875-1944), he wrote: “Yesterday in the cinema we saw the ceremonial meeting of the Reichstag and the triumphant return of the troops to Berlin. A stunning picture. I had tears from excitement … The arrival of “him” [Hitler] at the Reichstag is amazing. Wonderful cars, sparkling with cleanliness, enthusiastic crowd. Himself, the very simplicity, no imagination, while greatness and strength.”
Gabriel Konstantinovich also expressed satisfaction with the successes of the fascists in other European countries. On 16th October 1940, he wrote to the same addressee: “I am very glad that the Romanian King Karol was asked to leave. He is a very weak type and God knows what he was doing in Romania in community with his Jewess Lupescu … It seems to me that good has won out over evil and the time of light has now begun in the world.”
For the pretenders to the Russian throne, however, the “time of light” had not yet come. The Nazis made it clear that they had no plans at all to provide any part of Russia they had conquered with any independent form of government, let alone a monarchical one.
Moreover, in March 1941, in the diary of the headquarters of the operational leadership of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, an entry was made regarding the goals of the occupation regime on the territory of the USSR. Among other things, the document noted: “Socialist ideas in today’s Russia can no longer be eradicated … The Jewish-Bolshevik intelligentsia, which is the oppressor of the people, must be removed from the scene. The former bourgeois-aristocratic intelligentsia, if it still exists, primarily among the emigrants, should also not be allowed to power. It will not be accepted by the Russian people, and, moreover, they are hostile towards the German nation.”
So, the Nazis used Vladimir without promising him anything in return. With this state of affairs, he seems to have resigned himself. It is ironic that at the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), Soviet propaganda actively exploited the topic of the potential revival of tsarism by the Nazis in Russia. On one of the posters of 1941, for example, read: “The excitement in the German convoy is not in vain, – / The Nazis are taking the tsar for Russia. / He sits, swaying on a skinny horse, / And he sees himself drunk in Moscow – in a dream …”
PHOTO: Edward Raczyński and Aleksandr Bogomolov
In an article, published in International Affairs, [Vol. 42, January-February 1996, No.1] Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Yury Vasilyevich Ivanov, reveals a different scenario.
In a letter dated 28th October 1941, Polish Minister Edward Bernard Raczyński (1891-1993) wrote to Soviet Ambassador to France Aleksandr Efremovich Bogomolov (1900-1969): “Referring to our conversation yesterday concerning contacts between Hitler and Grand Duke Vladimir [Kirillovich], I take the liberty of sending you information on this count, enclosed herein, which was recently received from a reliable source.”
“In early September this year an agreement was concluded between [Nazi] Germany and Russian Grand Duke Vladimir whereby Germany gave its consent to establish to the restoration of monarchy of the Romanovs. That state should establish a national-socialist or fascist regime. The non-Russian countries of the Soviet Union would be associated into a new Russia within a single union. The grand duke would renounce all claims to Poland. In execution of this agreement, the grand duke issued guidance to the White émigrés to collaborate with countries that are at war with the USSR.” In conclusion the document said: “The émigré community received this agreement with the hope that the ‘Whites’ would remain masters of the country also in the event of a German defeat.”
In addition to having fun in Parisian restaurants, Vladimir Kirillovich took part in financing France’s “eastern battalions” that were deployed in the middle of the war on the Western Front.
On the Eastern Front, perhaps, only one attempt is known to form a collaborationist Russian monarchical unit. In 1943, Nikolai Ivanovich Sakhnovsky, an activist of the “Russian Imperial Union-Order” organization, with twenty like-minded people living in Belgium, volunteered for the Wallonia SS assault brigade. As part of the brigade, Sakhnovsky created a detachment of Soviet prisoners of war, called the “Russian people’s militia”. Upon arrival in the occupied territory of the USSR, in the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky district, Sakhnovsky tried to deploy monarchist propaganda among the local population, which, however, did not have any noticeable response.
The “militias” wore a chevron on the sleeve in the form of an Orthodox eight-pointed cross with the inscription “Victory by this symbol.” The only combat operation in which the “militia” took part occurred during an accidental collision with the advancing Soviet infantry. Most of the soldiers died, the rest, along with the Walloon SS men, were withdrawn to the rear and disbanded. Some of them remained in the ranks of the formed 28th SS Grenadier Division “Wallonia” under the command of Leon Degrel, the rest were demobilized.
As for Vladimir, who then, seriously fearing for his life, before the liberation of France, managed to evacuate to Amorbach, Germany. At the very end of the war, fleeing from the advancing Soviet troops, he found himself in Tyrol in the company of Zherebkov. In the first days of May, they joined the column of the retreating pro-Axis collaborationist First Russian National Army, under Major General Boris Holmston-Smyslovsky (1897-1988). The latter was a career German intelligence officer of Russian-Finnish origin and, having enlisted the support of the Americans, brought to the West valuable cadres of Russian collaborationist saboteurs.
It is interesting that along with Vladimir and Zherebkov were the leaders of the French pro-Nazi Vichy regime – Marshal Henri Petain and Pierre Laval.
On the night of 2 to 3 May 1945, Smyslovsky’s army crossed the border of the neutral principality of Liechtenstein. It was here that the Russian Nazi accomplices were interned and subsequently escaped extradition to the USSR. As for the French and Vladimir, the authorities of the principality flatly refused to provide them with asylum – they were all extradited to representatives of the 1st French army of Marshal Jean de Latre de Tassigny (1889-1952).
PHOTO: Prince Vladimir Kirillovich in Madrid, Spain. 1950s
Laval and Petain, as well as Zherebkov, were handed over to the French by Vladimir Kirillovich himself – in exchange for his own immunity and permission to fly to Spain. There he was greeted by the Queen of Spain [Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, wife of King Alfonso XIII, who was waiting for him.
Vladimir’s escape to Francoist Spain undoubtedly saved him from possible retribution for his collaborationist activities. For almost ten years, he did not dare to travel outside of Spain.
Despite the damning evidence against Vladimir Kirillovich and his parents Grand Duke Kirill and Grand Duchess Victoria, Maria Vladimirovna and George Mikhailovich’s followers, the so-called “Legitimists” continue to argue that the evidence is nothing more than lies. So be it . . .
“Truth does not mind being questioned. A lie does not like being challenged“
© Paul Gilbert. 6 May 2021