Alexander Romanov was able to see how Russia developed after the 1917 revolution of the year - he lived until 1933 and observed the gradual restoration of the state destroyed by the Civil War, the expansion of its borders, the revival of the army and navy, and industrialization. All this made a great impression on the Grand Duke. Aleksandr Mikhailovich Romanov was one of the few high-ranking emigrants who was not afraid to openly express respect for the actions of the Bolsheviks in restoring the power of the Soviet / Russian state and in fighting the enemies of Russia.
Alexander Mikhailovich Romanov was born in 1866 in the family of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich and Olga Fedorovna, and had a grandson of his own, Emperor Nicholas I. For his grandfather Alexander Mikhailovich retained the deepest respect, considering him a true patriot and collector of the Russian state. The last Russian emperor Nicholas II, Alexander Mikhailovich, was a great-uncle, although he was only two years older. The slight difference in age between the uncle and the nephew caused that Alexander Mikhailovich and Nikolai Aleksandrovich were close childhood friends.
In 1885, Alexander graduated from the Marine School as a midshipman and began serving in the navy. Unlike Nicholas II, he served fully - he passed all the posts and promoted in the service may be faster than the officers of less noble blood, but quite usually. In 1886, Alexander Mikhailovich participated in the round-the-world cruise of the corvette “Rynda”, and in 1892, he was entrusted to command the destroyer “Revel”. In the 1893 year, eight years after graduating from college, he still bore the rank of senior lieutenant (recall that Nicholas II became a colonel in 1892 year).
In 1894, the Grand Duke was finally fired in the captains of 2 rank. In addition to service in the fleet, Alexander Mikhailovich was actively engaged in the development of a program to strengthen the navy of the country and generally paid great attention to the development of the fleet. From 1899, the Grand Duke, who was already 33 of the year, served as a senior officer on the coastal defense battleship General-Admiral Apraksin. Only in 1903, he received the title of Rear Admiral of the Fleet and the position of the junior flagship of the Black Sea Fleet.
It was at the suggestion of Alexander Mikhailovich that a military aviation school was organized in Sevastopol. In 1908, Alexander became the chairman of the Imperial All-Russian Aeroclub, and then - the chief of the Imperial Military Air Force. In this position, he did a lot for the development of Russian aviation. Alexander Mikhailovich was among the officers and sailors of the Black Sea Fleet, military pilots and airmen soldiers. Perhaps it was this circumstance in 1918 that enabled him to avoid the terrible fate that awaited many of his relatives who had fallen into the hands of the Bolsheviks after the revolution.
Thus, we see that for most of his life, Alexander Mikhailovich was really engaged in business, serving the good of his native country. Perhaps it was patriotism and great life experience that helped the Grand Duke, who emigrated from Russia during the Civil War, to take a different look at Bolshevik politics. At the time of the revolution, Alexander Mikhailovich, who bore the rank of admiral, commanded the country's air force fleet. Like all other members of the Romanov dynasty, he was immediately dismissed from military service and soon moved to the Crimea, from where December 11 1918 emigrated to Europe, settling in France.
At first, Alexander Mikhailovich tried to participate in the white movement, seeking the support of the European powers. He then focused on the organizational issues of societies helping Russian émigrés. He somewhat changed his position in relation to the post-revolutionary events, and in relation to European allies. Thus, in his “Book of Memories”, Alexander Mikhailovich directly wrote that the British and other members of the Entente undertook such adventures in Russia that promoted the transformation of the Bolsheviks from revolutionaries-rebels into defenders of Russian independence. For example, the British created an independent Azerbaijan in order to gain control over Baku oil. Batum was turned into a “free city” under the protectorate of the British, precisely to ensure the delivery of Baku oil to the UK.
The independence of Georgia was also supported by the allies in order to gain access to its natural resources, and the French strengthened in Odessa, which at that time was the most important southern Russian port. So yesterday's allies became predators, tearing apart the "remnants" of the Russian Empire in their own interests. It became clear to a significant part of the real patriots in the White movement that the allies are not really such, but pursue only their own interests. In turn, the Bolsheviks became defenders of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state, which was in a state of almost complete disintegration by the 1918 year.
This behavior of the Allies was a major blow to the White movement. Many generals and officers, not to mention ordinary soldiers and Cossacks, understood that some more and there would simply be no country, it would be divided between European powers, the USA and even Japan. In this situation, the Bolsheviks did not look as scary as before. If, prior to 1918, they were considered the subverters of the Russian state, then the attitude towards the Bolsheviks among many white officers began to change. Alexander Mikhailovich also wrote about the tragedy of Admiral Kolchak, a recognized hero, navigator and commander who discredited himself by signing a document with the Allied Powers, in which he promised not only to compensate the Allies for the damage suffered by “forced” actions on the territory of Russia, but also to recognize the independence of all States arising on the fragments of the Russian Empire. Thus, Admiral Kolchak agreed to recognize the collapse of Russia - the disconnection of the Caucasus, the Baltic states, Ukraine, and Central Asia. It is noteworthy that Kolchak himself was betrayed by allies who promised him help, and the money raised by Kolchak was appropriated. The immediate perpetrators of the death of Admiral Kolchak were not so much the reds, whose hatred for the admiral is understandable, as the traitors - the French general Janin and the leaders of the Czechoslovak Corps, who "surrendered" the admiral.
“The guardian of the Russian national interests was none other than the internationalist Lenin, who in his constant speeches did not spare the forces to protest against the division of the former Russian Empire, appealing to the working people of the whole world,” wrote Alexander Mikhailovich Romanov in his Book of Memories, - and this circumstance, in the opinion of the Grand Duke, made the position of the whites very difficult. The real patriots in their camp began to think more and more about what might be they and should not go along with the “allies” who only think about dividing and plundering Russia.
Subsequent история countries only confirmed the correctness of the words of Alexander Romanov. The Bolsheviks, having come to power, almost immediately engaged in the restoration of the Russian state in the former borders. At a time when the sovereignty of a number of self-proclaimed states that appeared on the fragments of the empire was recognized, the Bolsheviks made great efforts to ensure that the lands of the Caucasus, Central Asia, Ukraine, the Far East, and Eastern Siberia remained within a single state. Of course, it was not possible to do without losses - the Baltic states were disconnected, Bessarabia was under Romanian control, and Poland, which also gained sovereignty, retained control over the regions of Western Belarus and Western Ukraine.
When, in 1920, Alexander Mikhailovich, who was in France by this time, saw the headlines reporting, in a familiar “hats” manner, that the Polish regiments of Jozef Pilsudski would soon take Kiev and take control of Ukraine, the Grand Duke, as he confessed in an interview, he began to wholeheartedly wish the Red Army victory over the Poles - and this despite the fact that his family, his closest relatives were killed by the Bolsheviks. Concern for the territorial integrity of Russia turned out to be more important for the Grand Duke than his personal accounts. He understood that if the Poles succeed in victory, Russia will be deprived of the most important territories in the west of the country and it will become even more difficult to restore the former borders of the country.
The Grand Duke noted that the Soviets, willy-nilly, continued the very policy that had been going on for centuries, since the time of Ivan the Terrible, and consisted in collecting lands around Moscow and expanding the borders of the Russian state. The mouth of Alexander Romanov spoke the truth, because in the shortest possible time the Bolsheviks managed not only to restore Russia after the disasters of the First World War and the Civil War, but also to turn it into an even more powerful state than before. Already in 1930-ies, the Soviet Union turned into an industrial power capable of adequately resisting the West.
The role of the Bolsheviks in restoring Russian statehood was difficult not to recognize, and that part of the Russian political émigrés, who were real and not feigned patriots of their homeland, understood this very well. It is very gratifying that a representative of the roman family of the Romanovs, especially such a deserved as Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, was among the real patriots.
Another thing is that there were among the emigrants and those for whom personal insults were for relatives and friends, for lost estates and funds overshadowed everything else. They continued to speak ill of Soviet power and continued to hope that they could be overthrown, even with the help of foreign interventionists. Already after the death of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich Romanov, this part of the Russian emigration showed its true face when it took the side of the terrible aggressor — Hitler’s Germany, which brought death and destruction to the Russian land. Although Hitler hoped to destroy a significant part of the Slavic population and enslave another part, these representatives of political emigration saw in him, first of all, the most important ally in the fight against the Bolsheviks. For this they were ready to forgive Hitler the destruction of millions of Russian people, the seizure of Russian lands, the destruction of the country's economic infrastructure. Krasnov, Shkuro, Sultan Girey Klych and other similar figures with their actions during the Second World War only contributed to further discredit white immigrants.
But there were other people among the representatives of emigration.
It is enough to recall the same Lieutenant General Peter Semenovich Makhrov - the former chief of staff of the VSYUR. When 22 June 1941, Hitler's Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Makhrov did not run to join the Wehrmacht, but wrote a letter to the Soviet ambassador to France, Bogomolov, asking him to enroll in the Red Army. 65-year-old general was ready to go to the service in the Red Army even an ordinary, just to take part in the defense of their homeland. But the letter was intercepted by Vichy censorship and General Makhrov was arrested, being in a concentration camp. Fortunately, thanks to connections in the French military leadership of 7 in December of 1941, he was released and lived for a long time, having already died at a very old age in 1964.
Lieutenant-General Pavel Alekseevich Kusonsky, unfortunately, was not lucky to be released. Former Quartermaster-General of the Volunteer Caucasian Army, and then Chief of Staff of the Corps at Wrangel, Kusonsky was active in the EMRO after emigration from Russia. 22 June 1941, he was arrested by the Gestapo on suspicion of working on Soviet intelligence. 22 August 1941, he died in a concentration camp from beatings. These were the real patriots - Russian officers from among white emigrants, but for some reason they are not talking about the monuments of Makhrov or Kusonsky in Russia, as opponents of the Soviet government and Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich Romanov do not like to recall.