The execution of the Romanov family has long been one of Russia’s most striking historical moments – but is it possible to restore a monarchy that ceased to exist a century ago? It would appear that one Russian politician has come surprisingly close in his attempt to do so. Here’s everything you need to know.
The February revolution wiped out the Russian monarchy with a brutal murder of the last Emperor, Nicholas II, and his entire family. Despite the efforts of the Bolsheviks, the monarchy as an ideology was not as quick to disappear. A resistance formed during the Civil War, called the White Army, with self-proclaimed leaders popping up all over the country.
Now, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the implementation of a democratic system, the Russian Monarchist Party has brought about the rebirth of the Russian crown. Well, not rebirth per se – the party represents the interests of bringing back the Russian monarchy, finding an heir to the throne, and converting it into a constitutional monarchy, just like the royal family in the UK, for example.
The man behind the party is businessman Anton Bakov. As a politician he was a member of the State Duman (Russian parliament) for four years – a few years later, Bakov claimed to have restored the Empire by establishing a micronation called the Imperial Throne. The next step for his new government was seeking recognition as a sovereign state, which didn’t happen. Bakov pressed ahead by finding an heir to the Russian throne. The claimant was and still is the German Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen, better known as Niolai III under his pretended regnal name. Bakov didn’t leave himself without a title, and named himself Prime Minister and prince.
The main question was finding a place to establish rule over. By 2017, Bakov was holding talks with a number of territories about purchasing land as his microstate. He came close to purchasing three islands belonging to Kiribati, but the deal did not go through.
Bakov was due to run in the upcoming presidential elections, but alas had to withdraw as he was granted a second citizenship by the Gambia in West Africa, where allegedly his new government was recognised. He also disclosed that the Gambia is willing to find land for the formal establishment of the Imperial Throne – the Empire will be situated on an archipelago of artificial islands just off the coast of the Gambia.
Unsurprisingly, the Gambia has denied anything of the sort, making Bakov’s recent success in effect a failure. The Central Election Committee of Russia wished him well and perhaps was slightly amused by his withdrawal based on a non-existing dual citizenship. It is unlikely though that Bakov will accept defeat just yet, when he has made it this far in his quest to restore the Empire – moreover, supporters can apply for a passport and become a citizen.