PHOTO: Prince George Mikhailovich Romanov-Hohenzollern and his Italian fiancée Rebecca Virginia Bettarini were greeted on the steps of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, by a Russian military honour guard in full dress and sabres drawn
On 6th October, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu took disciplinary action against his subordinates in St. Petersburg for sending an honour guard to what was falsely reported as the country’s “first Romanov wedding in over a century”.
On 1st October, Prince George Mikhailovich Romanov-Hohenzollern and his Italian fiancée Rebecca Virginia Bettarini were greeted on the steps of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, by a Russian military honour guard in full dress and sabres drawn. Upon leaving the cathedral, the honour guard formed a sabre arch for the newly married couple.
Following the media publication of the wedding, journalists and social media users began to ask why military personnel were present at a private event.
According to the press service of the Western Military District, a separate rifle company “provides the guard of honour for important events, such as the greeting and departure ceremonies of official state, government and military delegations, garrison and other events with the participation of troops in St. Petersburg and the North-West region of the country.”
Other events, which the Guard of Honour are used: laying wreaths at the graves of soldiers who died in battle; rituals for paying military honours at the opening of monuments, memorials and funerals, and also participates in the military-patriotic education of young people and other socially significant events.
Citing unnamed Defence Ministry sources, the state-run TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies reported that the ministry’s Western Military District had violated regulations by sending honour guard personnel to the Romanov’s wedding.
“An official investigation established violations of governing documents by individual officials,” one of the sources was quoted as saying.
PHOTO: Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu
The reports did not indicate what type of disciplinary action was brought against the Western Military District or who exactly was targeted. The district itself did not comment on the reprimand.
The so-called “Russian Imperial House” wasted little time in damage control, stressing that the honour guard’s participation was legally sanctioned.
“The wedding organizers agreed with every authority — state, church, military — in accordance with the procedure established by law,” said Maria Vladimirovna’s senior mouthpiece Alexander Zakatov, who serves as director of Maria’s “chancellery” in Moscow. This, however, is not true:
“On behalf of the Russian Defence Minister, disciplinary action has been taken against responsible persons, for violation of regulations and statutory documents governing the appointment of the guard of honour,” another source added.
“I have no doubt that those responsible will be held accountable. The commandant subdivision of the Russian Armed Forces is not a firm or a company catering to wedding banquets or other functions for individuals.
“Thank God that Russia’s Minister of Defence, Hero of Russia Sergei Shoigu is a man of honour and duty, one who teaches his subordinates to protect the honour of a serviceman and the honour of his uniform, and not to participate in a funny show of these impostors!”
PHOTO: Lyudmila Narusova (left), chatting on her mobile in St. Isaac’s Cathedral
The Kremlin played down the significance of the Romanov wedding. No Russian government officials were reported among the 1,500 guests at the St. Isaac’s Cathedral ceremony, with the exception of Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and senator Lyudmila Narusova, the widow of St. Petersburg’s ex-Mayor Anatoly Sobchak – who was photographed showing the utmost disrespect by talking on her mobile during the wedding ceremony in St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
11 October 2021