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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Romanovs Pay Visit to the Russia They Lost

The Romanovs are back, traveling in high style on a symbolically charged journey into the past of Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II.


Dressed in an impeccably tailored suit, Grand Duke Georgy Romanov stepped regally from a sleek, black limousine on Moscow's Manezh Square on Tuesday. Smiling faintly as relatives and well-wishers bowed before him, the 12-year-old duke filled his arms with flowers and presents.


Together with Grand Duchess Maria, his mother, and Grand Duchess Leonida, his grandmother, the boy whom monarchists call the next rightful tsar left his home in Paris this week for an extended trip through Russia.


In the huge exhibition hall that their ancestors once used as a stable for their horses, the Romanovs began their visit by opening an exhibition about Nicholas II, who was murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.


Their trip, which is scheduled to last until July 12, is the first long stay in Russia for the Romanovs. They were last in Moscow in September for the 180th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, the turning point of the 1812 war against Napoleon.


Addressed as "your highness" by admirers. Grand Duchess Maria smiled warmly at the swarms of cameras and reporters, while gum-chewing bodyguards in sunglasses hovered around her to keep the crowds at a distance.


Grand Duchess Leonida is the widow of the late Grand Duke Vladimir, who died while visiting Florida last year. Vladimir was a cousin of Nicholas II.


The Romanovs are scheduled to continue their journey around Russia on a boat that bears the unfortunate name of "Sovyetskaya Rossiya" - Soviet Russia. The cruise will take them on a tour of historical sites and to numerous meetings with officials, according to organizers.


After two days sailing down the Volga, on Friday they will reach the ancient city of Kostroma, the birthplace of the first Romanov tsar, Mikhail, who was elected to royalty by a council of nobles in 1613.


Romanov rule ended in March 1917 with the abdication of Nicholas II. He and his six immediate family members are believed to have been executed in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg as White Russian troops were about to capture the town in July 1918.


Speaking with several reporters at the exhibit, Andrei Golitsyn, chairman of the Russian Nobility League, said that 1993 marked an important year for Russia's monarchists. It is the 125th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas II, the 75th year since he and his family were killed, and marks 380 years from the date when the Romanovs began to rule Russia.


Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, some Russians have voiced support for a return of a tsar, a strong leader who could bring back order to Russia at a time when it is troubled by economic and political turmoil.


Golitsyn, who said that the Romanovs were here at the invitation of the Moscow City Council, said that a return of the monarchy could solve many of the country's problems. "There is no power struggle involved within a monarchy", said Golitsyn, referring to the debilitating battle between President Boris Yeltsin and Russia's legislature.


"The current battle over a new constitution proves that both the president and the parliament only have personal interests", he added. "A monarchist would not be preoccupied with such problems, but instead could ensure that the people of Russia are represented".