Who wants to own the Kremlin?

Some view the Moscow Kremlin as the center of power in Russia; others see it as a historical site. For Valery Kubarev, it’s a piece of real estate which he claims is his through descent from the dynasty of Rurik.

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Armed with a patent of royalty, Kubarev-sponsored “Princes’ Foundation” has challenged in court the state of Russia, its Government, Culture Ministry and the federal agency managing state property, claiming the rights for the Moscow Kremlin. The hearings started on Monday and will continue later in October.

The would-be “Great Prince of Russia” (the proper title in English would be “Grand Duke”, but who are we to debate with Kubarev on this?) has come to great lengths to build a base for his claims. His arguments bend the laws of royal succession, widely accepted historical chronology and beliefs of several world religions.

Historical account, sort of

Kubarev believes that the Ruriks, the dynasty that ruled Kievan Rus and later many of the shattered lands it was reduced to by the Mongol invasion, were dethroned in Moscow in 1505 with the accession of Basil III. Basil was son of the second wife of Ivan III the Great, who is dubbed “gatherer of the lands” for turning the Grand Duchy of Moscow into the nucleus of the future Russian Empire.

Ivan’s firstborn son Ivan the Young died from illness (some say from poisoning), which put succession of the throne in dispute. One court party of the time supported Ivan the Young’s son Dmitry the Grandson as a rightful heir, while another one favoured Basil. The tsar eventually chose the second son as his heir, which, according to Kubarev, violated the God-given laws of succession and gave the crown to a usurper.

With no rightful Duke in Moscow, any nobleman with the blood of Ruriks could have a right to rule Muscovy. That is where Kubarev’s alleged ancestors come to the fore.

Blood relation

The man traces his origins to the Kubensky noble family, who had been in power in the 15th and 16th centuries. One of them, Ivan Kubensky, Kubarev says, was a teacher to the future tsar Ivan IV the Terrible, but was actually planning to become tsar himself. However the future tyrant had his teacher executed.

The subsequent rule (Ivan the Terrible was at constant rivalry with hereditary nobility and granted noble titles for state service to create a counterweight) was, in Kubarev’s opinion, a great campaign to eradicate Rurik’s descendants. He states the number of those slaughtered for kinship at 3,000.

However Kubarev’s own line survived, and now he wants reprisals.

Big ambition

In a video statement the man says his lawsuit is all about justice, and that once his ownership on the Moscow Kremlin is renewed, his foundation will put an effort to renew its spirituality. The work of the Russian government will not be affected, he said.

However Kubarev’s personal website has a much broader list of Rurik’s property, allegedly his by birthright – a total of 89 fortresses in different cities and towns of Russia, Ukraine and Poland.

But that’s not the end. Speaking on Internet forums, Kubarev doesn’t hide his ultimate goal – sovereignty over Russia. Turning the Kremlin into his “base of operation” is but a first step towards establishing himself as the ruler of Russia.

Jesus was Russian

While some people call Kubarev’s actions a campaign for publicity (and others doubt his sanity), he seems to be assured that he eventually will prevail. After all, he has the blood of Ruriks in his veins, and that blood comes straight from Jesus Christ.

Don’t bother to take the Bible from the bookshelf and look for Jesus’ wife or children previously overlooked. Kubarev’s religious beliefs have little to do with Christianity. Not only does he say that Jesus was born somewhere on the Volga River, he also believes that after His resurrection He traveled to India, China and the Americas to become known as Muhammad, Gautama Buddha, Confucius and other founders of major religions. With ancestors like that, one has every reason for such confidence.

Lawyers, however, doubt Kubarev’s chances of winning the case; otherwise a flood of lawsuits from descendants of nobles, who lost their property over many turbulent centuries of Russia’s history, would overflow the courts.