In my last post, I asked the question, “Who would be king if France was still a monarchy?” Well, what about Russia? Who would be tsar (or tsarina) in the unlikely event that Russia were to reinstate its monarchy?
Well, as most people know, Russia’s last emperor -- Nicholas II -- was assassinated in 1918 during the Russian Revolution (along with his wife, five children, and many other members of the extended Romanov family). Shortly thereafter, it became clear that no male-line descendents of Nicholas II's father had survived (well, at least not any from marriages of equal rank). This meant that the most senior male heir to the imperial throne was now Nicholas II's cousin Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich. In 1924, Cyril declared himself Emperor while in exile in France. Upon his death, his only son -- Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich -- became the most senior male.
But when Vladimir Kirillovichh died in 1992, he left no male heir. He did, however, have a daughter -- Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna. She is currently recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church as the rightful heir to the throne. But the Romanov Family Association, formed in 1979, disagrees. They instead recognize San Francisco resident (and US citizen) Prince Andrew Andreyevich. Andrew is both a descendent of Alexander III (via his maternal grandmother) and a senior male-line descendent of Nicholas I (via his paternal grandfather). But wait -- that's not all! To complicate matters further, Prince Karl Emich of Leningen, the most senior descendent of the “Emperor in Exile” Cyril Vladimirovich, has recently become a third claimant. In 2017, a Russian businessman "purchased" three remote islands in the Pacific Ocean for Karl Emich to “reign over” as Nicholas III.
I guess we'll have to stay tuned :)