10 November 2013

Neoreaction and dynasties

There was an amusing little tiff on Twitter last week illustrating one of the choices in the neoreactionary position.

Marko Sket admiringly posted a quote from Vladimir Putin:

If minorities prefer Sharia Law, then we advise them to go to those places where that’s the state law. Russia does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination’

This led to some exploration of the idea of Putin becoming a proper Tsar, put first by @CarlosEstebanRD, and whether he has sons, etc.

While kicking over the possibilities and difficulties, Arthur R. Harisson chimes in with:

Why are we going around choosing kings? Maria Vladimirovna is the Empress. End of story. Crown her.

So there we have it: does neoreaction mean a strong, realist leader like Putin taking on more of the beneficial aspects of traditional rule, such as a secure hereditary succession, or does it mean the literal restoration of long-deposed dynasties like the Romanovs?

Neo? Paleo?

I don’t think there is really any deep division. On the one hand, none of us would object to crowning Duchess Maria if the opportunity arose. On the other, it’s pretty hard to be any kind of monarchist without accepting at least retrospectively a rare replacement of one dynasty with another.

The division, such as it is, comes only from the great distance to be travelled to restore hereditary rule via either path, the old or the new. As @MarkoSket pointed out

[Putin proclaiming himself] would be a rift into Russian society. Putin still rely on the support of the inheritors of Soviet privileges ... Putin and Siloviki derive their internal legitimacy as inherited accomplices in the real Russian Czar murder

While on the other side, Duchess Maria says (my emphasis)

I affirm my belief that legitimate hereditary monarchy is the only form of government that is divinely ordained, and I am convinced that it is compatible with any age, including our own, and could be suitable for and useful to our multi-national country. At the same time, I understand that, right now and for the foreseeable future, the restoration of the Monarchy is premature, and I categorically reject any possibility of a Restoration without the consent of the People. Only the free, informed, legally-formulated, and all-national expression of the will of the People could authorize a rebirth of the monarchy that existed in Russia between 862 and 1917.

Formidable obstacles on both paths. To talk about reconciling the two paths, e.g. by marrying off one of Putin’s mysterious daughters to Grand Duke Gerogii Mihailovich, is to pile more fantasy onto the already improbable.

Finally, the very concept of converting an explicitly republican government to a hereditary one is, so far as I know, as yet unproven. Neither Tumbledown Dick nor North Korea’s current dynasty provide happy precedent. I read recently that Hosni Mubarak was planning to have his son Gamal succeed him as president, but obviously that did not work out.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

there are a few examples: British Restoration with Charles II, the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, and the two Spanish Restorations (the one following the brief first republic in the 19th century, and the more famous one in 1975 after Franco's death).

To be fair, none of those had as long a period of republican interim rule as the now 96 year and counting interim in Russia.

Still, if a restoration were to occur in Russia with the Romanovs returning, the person to push it through (and likely be appointed Chancellor and de facto head of government) would be Putin. If an 80%+ approval rating, widespread military support, control of the security services, media control and "tough" reputation abroad are not enough to be able to do it... then I don't think it's ever going to happen.

A Nonny Mouse said...

The problem with your thinking is that Vladimirovna is only recognised as Empress by some because the senior line has intermarried with commoners. (It is a great solecism to use the word Tsar and Tsarina for the Russian Emperor: Poland and Kazakhstan had Tsars, not Russia, which was an Empire.) So if the offspring of Putin intermarry with those of Maria Vladimirovna, then they too should be passed over for the succession.

Looking forward to your next post, it is a bit optimistic to expect that you can have clarity over a succession. The succession is always unclear in a monarchy: the job of politicians is to muddy the waters. It is here that the intrinsic silliness of the institution emerges: when deciding whether A or B should be the next ruler, is it not better to examine the track record of A, rather than rumours that he was smuggled into his mother’s accouchement in a warming-pan, or was really fathered by the Queen’s secretary, or that his father had actually married Bessie Bloggs before the Queen, making A illegitimate?

Royal infants however are not a problem, largely because they get done in adult heirs (Arthur of Britanny by John Lackland, Princes in Tower by Richard Crookback.)

Putin is a politician: his dynasty will last at most 50 years, by which time people will be sick of it.