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100 years memory of the end of the Russian monarchy deserve better than this mock empire in the hands of an oligarch
Curious plan: A rich Russian wants to revive the Tsar empire - in the middle of the Pacific. On Kiribati the offer is seriously examined. But even if the plans should be true: before the downfall does not protect. Literally.
The antitheses could hardly be bigger. The island state of Kiribati has nothing at all to do with Moscow, the Urals or Siberia. The 33 islands and atolls in the Pacific, halfway between Australia and Hawaii, fulfill the South Sea clichés in perfection. Sandy beaches, palm trees, more than 30 degrees. From the capital Tarawa Bairiki to the Kremlin, where it is just cold again, it is air line more than 13,500 kilometers.
But when it comes to Anton Bakow, the new czar empire is to be created here. The chairman of the Russian monarchist party wants to revive the regentage of the Romanov on three of the islands - on time to the centenary of the October Revolution. "My goal is to restore the status of the Romanov dynasty, which was lost in 1917," says the 51-year-old.
German shall be Czar
He already had a tsar: the German noble Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen, a distant relative of Czar Alexander II. The 64-year-old, formerly married to Gabriele Thyssen, the later wife of the Aga Khan - is already Nicholas III. call. What is still missing is the approval of the Kiribati government. And subjects.
Because on the islands called Malden, Starbuck and Millennium lives nobody at the moment. Altogether, they have an area of 64 square kilometers - much more, for example, than the Vatican. But the islands are several hundred kilometers apart. Malden - the largest with 40 square kilometers - was used by Great Britain in 1956 to test a hydrogen bomb.
Bakow does not want to lease the islands, but buy them right away. The new empire of the Romanovs, he says, is supposed to be a "separate administrative unit in free communion with the Republic of Kiribati".The model will be how Monaco or Liechtenstein are connected with France or Switzerland.
Hundreds of millions
He has the money for it. Bakow is one of the people who have become wealthy after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in tourism and financial investment. He was temporarily involved in Moscow Domodedovo Airport. In the meantime, he also sat in the Duma, the Russian parliament. Today, so much, he was concerned with the "buying and selling of land". The monarchist does not reveal how many millions he currently possesses.
In January Bakov met with Kiribati's President Taneti Mamau to get things done. The Russian offered the Islanders 120 million US dollars (about 113 million euro) in prospect. In addition, he plans to invest a further 230 million (217 million euros) in the development of Malden in a first step. On the island, among other things, a chain of eco-hotels will emerge.
Bakow also promises ports, schools, hospitals, solar plants and, as an extra, a "University of the Russian Empire". All in all, a thousand new jobs will be created. "In addition, more taxes and tariffs would flow into Kiribati's state budget," he says. For the mini-state, one of the poorer in the world, this would mean a considerable boost
The offer is now being examined by the government. The President has set up a working group. Predecessor Teburoro Tito calls the project a "money-builder - provided that what they tell us" is true. Bakow hopes that the matter will be made clear later this month. But he also knows that things on Kiribati are not as fast as elsewhere.
But even if he succeeds with his plans, a secure future does not guarantee this. Kiribati, which usually protrudes only a few meters out of the water, is among the countries most affected by the effects of climate change. If the sea level actually rises further, a tsar empire might threaten the downfall - this time in the truest sense of the word.
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