July 17, 2015
Members of the Romanov dynasty intend to address the Moscow City Hall with the request to rename a metro station that currently is named after the Bolshevik who played a key role in the 1918 execution of Tsar Nicolas II and his family.
Representatives of the Russian Imperial House say that the renaming could be done on the anniversary of the killing, which happened in the early hours of July 17, 1918. The station in question is currently called Voikovskaya–After Pyotr Voikov who worked in the Bolshevik “Extraordinary Commission” security service and was in charge of first keeping the Romanovs under house arrest and later of their execution and body disposal. The Romanovs also want the city authorities to rename the whole Voikovsky district in Moscow for the same reasons.
The dynasty’s lawyer German Lukyanov told the Interfax news agency that the renaming should have happened a long time ago. “It is simply necessary to clear the Moscow city map of the name of someone who took part in repression and who organized the Tsar’s family killing.” He added that Voikov’s name was found under the order to issue 80 kilos of sulfuric acid used to dissolve the bodies of the last Russian Emperor, his wife and children and also some of their servants.
The lawyer said that a new name would restore historical justice. “The renaming would mean that Russia is a democratic state with no connections to the totalitarian past. Patriarch Alexy II [the late head of the Russian Orthodox Church] had said that the execution of the Tsar’s family was the beginning of repressions and the terrible terror unleashed against the whole population of Russia.”
A similar initiative has been prepared by municipal lawmakers of the Voikovskiy District. Aleksandr Zakondyrin suggested holding an online poll and choosing a new name for the area. The City Hall press service told the Kommersant newspaper that they have not yet received any suggestions regarding the renaming and such initiatives would be considered as soon as they arrive. At the same time, deputy Elena Shuvalova of the Moscow City Duma told reporters that many residents of the Voikovskiy District were against the renaming as it would require them to change their internal passports and other documents.
Earlier this year Leningrad Region’s lawmaker Vladimir Petrov asked the leaders of the Romanov dynasty - Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Dimitri Romanovich - to become symbols of national culture and maintaining traditions, like in many European nations that retained their monarchies to this day. The politician suggested that this move would help to smooth political controversies within Russia and help to restore the “spiritual power” of the nation. He said that if the Tsar’s descendants agree on his project the authorities could give them some guarantees and grant a residence in one of the palaces that belonged to them before the revolution.
The head of the Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House, Aleksandr Zakatov said that the Romanovs had no claims for property or political privileges and powers but would not mind if the imperial house becomes a historical institution and part of the national legacy.
An opinion poll conducted in 2013 in connection with the 400th anniversary of the Romanov royal house showed that 28 percent of Russian citizens would agree to be ruled by Tsars, but only 6 percent said that this modern monarch must be from the Romanov dynasty. About 13 percent hold that a contemporary Russian politician could become a new Tsar and suggested a nationwide referendum to decide on the candidate.
The majority of the people - 67 percent - said that Russia should leave the monarchy in the past and remain a democracy.