HISTORY OF THE IMPERIAL RUSSIAN DYNASTY
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(House of Romanov-Holstein-Gottorp and Romanov-Hohenzollern)
Orthodox: The Russian Monarchy was founded by Rurik, a pagan Norse adventurer who ruled the region nr Novgorod 862, and was styled by later historians "Grand Prince of Novgorod". He was followed by a son Oleg (d 912), who secured his rule over Kiev, and was succ by his brother Igor (d 945), succ by his son Sviatoslav (d 972), from whose yr son Yaropolk (d 980), descends the Princes Sviatopolk-Mirsky and Sviatopolk-Tchevertinsky. Sviatoslavs elder son, Saint Wladimir (d 1015), is revered for bringing Greek Orthodox Christianity to Russia at the end of the 10th century. Saint Wladimir established complex system of succession by which each brother was succeeded as Grand Prince of Kiev by the next, then the eldest nephew whose father had been Grand Prince before him, with cadets ruling smaller principalities. Wladimirs son and successor, Yaroslav (d 1054), had two surv sons, the elder Sviatoslav II (d 1076), Prince of Tchernigov, was ancestor of Saint Michael (d 1246), ancestor of the Princely families of Gortchakov, Eletzky, Volkonsky, Bariatinsky, Repnine, Obolensky, Stcherbatov, and Dolgoroukov. Yaroslavs yr son, Vsveolod I (d 1093), was ancestors of the Princely families of Drutskoy-Sokolinsky, Poutiatine, Viazemsky, Tatistchev, Kropotkine, Dachkov, Schakhovskoy, Lvov, Kozlovsky, Lobanov-Rostovsky, Kassatkine-Rostovsky, Vadbolsky, Béloselsky, Ouktomsky, Gagarine and Khilkov. In 1169 Andrew Bogolyubsky (d 1174), ruler of Suzdal transferred his capital from Kiev to Wladimir, and was ancestor of Saint Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263), who defeated the German and Swedish invaders in the West. Although Alexander managed to settle some of the feuding between different rulers, internecine struggles broke out anew on his death. Moscow became an important centre in 1326, when the Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church was established there. Alexander Nevskys descendant Ivan I Kalita (d 1340), with the help of the Mongols centralized his rule at Moscow in 1328. Ivan III (1462-1505) completed the unification of Russia, bringing Novgorod, Pskov, Moscow, and Wladimir together as ruler of Russia proper; following his marriage to Sofia Paleologo, niece of the last Byzantine Emperor, he assumed the title of Tsar (derived from the Latin word Caesar). Unification completed by Ivan IV "the Terrible" (1530-1584), but the reigning male line died out with Ivans son Feodor I in 1598. The succession to the throne remained in dispute until Mikhail Feodorovitch Romanov (b 12/22 Jul 1596; d 13/23 Jul 1645), descended from Andrey Ivanovich Kobyla (Kambila), a Moscow boyar living in the reign of Ivan I, and whose grt-aunt had been Ivan IVs first wife, was called to the throne then crowned Tsar of Russia 11/21 Feb 1613. Michael was succ by his son Alexis (1645-76), succ in turn by his son Feodor III (1676-82). The throne was then disputed between the latters brother Ivan V (d 1696), and half-brother Peter I "the Great" (b 30 May/9 Jun 1672; d 28 Jan/8 Feb 1725), who ruled as co-Tsars until Ivans death. Peter assumed the title "Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias" 2 Nov 1721; he founded the Order of Saint Andrew 30 Nov/11 Dec 1698. By law of 5/16 Feb 1716, Peter decreed that the Tsar could choose his successor, and his only son having been executed on his orders 1718; he was succ 1st by his widow Catherine Skavronska (d 6/17 May 1727, of Polish peasant origin, widow of John Rabbe), then his grandson (son of the Tsarevich Alexis), Peter II (d 1730), followed by his niece Anne (d 1740, yr dau of Ivan V), who was followed by her grt-nephew Ivan VI (of Brunswick), Tsar for a few months before being imprisoned, where he was murdered 1764. Peter Is dau Elizabeth ((b 18/29 Dec 1709; d 25 Dec 1761/5 Jan 1762),) crowned Empress 7 May 1742 and adopted her nephew Peter, reigning Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (b 21 Feb 1728; d 17 Jul 1762), son of Duke Karl-Friedrich of Holstein-Gottorp (b 30 Apr 1700; d 18 Jun 1739) and Tsar Peter Is elder dau by his 2nd marriage, Gr Duchess Anna (b 27 Jan/7 Feb 1708; m 21 May/1 Jun 1725; d 4/15 May 1728); Peter converted to Orthodoxy as Peter Feodorovich and was proclaimed heir to the throne with the titles Grand Duke and Imperial Highness 7/18 Nov 1742. Peter m 20 Aug/1 Sep 1745 Princess Sophia Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst (b 2 May 1729; d 5/17 Nov 1796), converted to Orthodoxy as Catherine Alexeievna, succ her husband Peter III, 9 Jul 1762 as Catherine II ("the Great"). Titles of Tsar(ina) of the Chersonnese Taurica assumed 1778, and Kiev 4 Jan 1793, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Volhynia and Podolia, Duke of Courland 24 Oct 1795, Grand Duke of Finland 17 Sep 1809, King of Poland 26 Feb 1832. Catherine succ by her son Paul I (b 20 Sep/1 Oct 1754; murdered 12/24 Mar 1801), who abdicated the Duchy of Holstein-Gottorp for himself and his heirs (while retaining the titles), elected de facto Grand Master, Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Order of Malta, see SOVEREIGN MILITARY ORDER OF MALTA) 24 Nov 1798; succ by Alexander I (b 31 Nov/12 Dec 1777; d sps 19 Nov 1825), and succ in turn by his brother Nicholas I (see below). Emperor Nicolas II was the last Tsar to rule but signed an act of abdication (which probably illegally purported to exclude the Tsarevich) in favour of his brother Michael 3/15 Mar 1917, who delegated governance to the Duma which was then dissolved by the Petrograd Soviet 25/4 Nov 1917. The Emperor was assassinated with his family at Ekaterinburg 16/17 Jul 1918; Grand Duke Michael was murdered 18 Jun 1918. Laws governing membership in the Imperial House, succession to the throne and marriages of dynasts are contained in the "Fundamental State Laws of the Russian Empire, the Act of Succession, and the Statute of the Imperial Family" first promulgated 5/16 Apr 1797 (incorporating the inviolable Act of Succession of 1788), in order that "that the State never be without a successor; that the successor be determined by the law itself; that there be not the slightest doubt as to the successor...", codified 1832, 1842, 1857, 1892 and 1906, amended and revised 11/24 Aug 1911. Succession is by male primogeniture in the legitimate descendants born of approved marriages to persons "of corresponding dignity" of Tsar Paul I; on the death of the last male, the throne (or Headship of the House) passes to his nearest female relative and thereafter by the same system (Art 27). By Art 188 "A person of the Imperial Family who has contracted marriage with a person of a status unequal to his, that is, not belonging to a Royal or Ruling House, cannot pass on to that person or to the posterity that might issue from such a marriage the rights that belong to members of the Imperial Family." Art 36 "Children born of a marriage between a member of the Imperial Family and a person not of corresponding dignity, that is, not belonging to a Royal or Ruling House, have no right of succession to the Throne." These rules were further restricted in 1911, requiring that Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses of Russia not marry except to a person "of corresponding dignity." Although Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial could marry a person not "of corresponding dignity" with permission of the Emperor, the issue of such marriages were not dynasts or members of the Imperial family, they had to be given a new name, title and arms by the Emperor and could not succeed to the throne. Persons of "corresponding rank" defined (communication from Minister of Imperial Court, 14/28 Jun 1911, art. 6) as belonging to a "Royal or Ruling House"; by Art 7 (of same) "when the Lord Emperor sees fit to subject the permissibility of marriages of Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial the decision regarding the permissibility of the marriage will be made by the Lord Emperor". Art 184 (Fundamental Laws), provided: "With the permission of the reigning emperor, members of the Imperial House may enter into marriage both with persons of the Orthodox faith and with persons of other denominations;" Art 185, "The marriage of a male dynast of the Imperial House who might succeed to the Throne to a person of another faith may not take place until she embraces Orthodoxy" (degree of proximity to be defined by the Emperor); and under Art 187, the marriage of Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses was to be announced by manifesto listing the title of the newlyweds and, "if the wife has converted to the Orthodox faith", with an indication of the name given to her at baptism (indicating that the issue of equal marriages where the wife was not Orthodox still retained their succession rights). Fundamental Laws Art 4:"Supreme Sovereign power belongs to the Emperor of All the Russias. Obedience to this power, not only out of fear but for the sake of conscience, is ordained by God himself." Article 219 "The reigning Emperor must in every case be regarded as head of all the Imperial Family and as its trustee and protector." Article 220: "Every Member of the Imperial House is committed to the reigning monarch, as Head of the House and Sovereign, with complete respect, obedience and allegiance." Article 221: "An inviolable pledge, moreover, of the privileges accorded to every Member of the Imperial House is their peaceful conduct and their maintenance of family calm and concord." Article 222: "The reigning Emperor, as a sovereign without limitation of his rights, has the right to deprive an insubordinate of the rights appointed in this law and to deal with him as with one who has defied the will of the Monarch".
Titles of the Dynasty (Art 53 Fundamental Laws, as amended 14 Jul 1886); Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, Tsar of Moscow, Kiev, Wladimir, Novgorod, Kazan, Astrakhan, Poland, Siberia, the Chersonnese Taurics, and Georgia, Lord of Pskov, Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia, Courland and Semigallia, Samogitia, Bielostock, Carelia, Tver, Yongoria, Perm, Vlatks, Bolgaria, and of other lands, Lord and Grand Duke of Lower Novgorod, Tchernigov, Riasan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslav, Belosero, Oudoria, Obdoria, Condia, Vitebsk, Mstislav, and all the Northern Region, Lord and Sovereign of the lands of Iveria, Cartalinia, Kabardinia and the provinces of Armenia, Lord of the Circassian and Mountain princes, Lord of Turkestan, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Ditmarschen and Oldenburg, Supreme Defender and Guardian of the Dogmas of the (Russian Orthodox) Church (Fundamental Laws, Art 53: "On the demise of an Emperor his heir accedes to the Throne by virtue of the law the accession is counted from the day of the demise of his predecessor"); titles of other dynasts are defined in Art 144 (1906 code of Fundamental Laws): the heir apparent has the title Grand Duke-Tsarevich (literally Tsesarevich); children and grandchildren, in the male line of the Emperor (or Head of the House) have the titles Grand Duke or Grand Duchess (of Russia) (Art 146, Fundamental Laws), as do his brothers and sisters; children of 2nd generation Grand Dukes are Princes or Princesses of the Blood Imperial (styled Prince or Princess of Russia) with the title Highness (this qualification then descending by male primogeniture to subsequent generations), yr sons and daughters of subsequent generations have the title Serene Highness. Descendants of Paul I in the male line (including the male line descendants of marriages to persons not of corresponding dignity who are not dynasts under the Russian Imperial Fundamental Laws), are by right Princes or Princesses of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, Heir of Norway, Duke or Duchesses of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn and Ditmarschen, Count or Countess of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst. By decree of the Head of the Imperial House of 28 Jul 1935 the descendants of legal unions between male dynasts and ladies of unequal rank (Fundamental Laws, art. 134 and 183; part II O.3) "will receive the title and name of prince or princess Romanovsky with the addition of the maiden name of the spouse of such member of the Imperial House or the addition of a name granted by the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, with the predicate, for the spouse and eldest son, of Serene Highness."  The descendants of marriages of members of the Imperial House to persons not of "corresponding rank" are not Russian dynasts, but are included here but indicated with an asterisk.*
Arms:- Or, a double-headed eagle displayed sa, beaked, langued and membered gu, each head crowned with a Royal Crown, holding in the dexter claw a sceptre and in the sinister claw an orb all or, the mounted figure of Saint George slaying the dragon all ppr, charged on the dexter wing with the arms of the Kingdoms of Kazan. Astrakhan, Siberia and Novgorod and on the sinister wing with the arms of the Grand Duchies of Kiev, Taurica and Finland and the Kingdom of Poland. The Collar of the Order of Saint Andrew is placed around the shield of the arms of Moscow on the breast of the eagle. The whole is ensigned with the Imperial Crown of Russia.
 In his decree of 28 July 1935, GD