More than 100 years after the Russian royal family was butchered in the cellar of the house where they had been held as prisoners, a small group of Russians is hoping that Russia will again be ruled by a tsar.
The group, known as the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers, is small and pins its hopes on faith as opposed to any sudden shift in Russian political realities, Reuters reported.
Nicholas II, the final tsar of the Romanov dynasty, was killed along with his wife and five children in July 1918 in Yekaterinburg. The tsar had been forced to abdicate a year earlier during the Russian Revolution.
“We are striving for the restoration of an autocratic monarchy. Like the one we had under our tsars,” said Leonid Simonovich-Nikshich, the group’s leader.
The group’s slogan is “Orthodoxy or Death.”
Russia has been ruled in the iron grip of leader Vladimir Putin, who has served as either president or prime minister since 2000. Simonovich-Nikshich said the group is not planning to oust Putin.
Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers is a small fringe group of Russian nationalists with no political power that stages processions, rallies and even burns books to promote their views.
Their slogan is Orthodoxy or Death.They believe the coming of a new tsar may be imminent. pic.twitter.com/ignjD8qcoz
— EHA News (@eha_news) August 9, 2018
“It is only possible through the church. In no way is this possible in a political secular way because that would be a dictator,” he said.
The Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers. NY Times says "they seem to conflate the Grateful Dead and the Ku Klux Klan." pic.twitter.com/HIhv6dn4
— leDictator (@leDictator) August 9, 2012
In July, the group marched in Moscow to mark the anniversary of the slaughter of the tsar and his family in what was described by Town and Country magazine in its recreation of the event as “nothing less that ugly, crazed and botched murder.”
The group’s members are not the only Russians hoping that somehow a monarchy will return.
Zurab Chavchavadze, 74, the head teacher of St Basil the Great School in Moscow, said that monarchy is synonymous with Russia and is teaching children about the glories of the Russia’s past under the tsars.
“Look at what the Russian people did with Lenin, Stalin, Putin. As soon as someone is in power for a few years, they become sacred. The Russian people strive for a monarchy; the Russian soul is monarchic,” he said, according to The Guardian.
Konstantin Malofeyev, a Russian financier, funds the school to prepare a new elite for the days when the monarchy and Orthodox Church again rule Russia.
“The mission of our school is to ensure that our graduates will be Orthodox patriots who will carry the thousand-year traditions of Russia, not just those of the last 20 or 100 years,” he said. “For me it’s very important to restore the traditions that were broken off in 1917.”
Leonid Reshetnikov, formerly of the KGB, is the leader of a group called Double-headed Eagle Society.
“Our liberals want to be like Europeans, but God made us different,” he said. “Liberal democracy is like Marxism, it was brought to us from London, Paris and New York. We need to return to the point where we took the wrong turn, in 1917.”
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