It would be fair to say that not everyone is jubilant about the birth of the future George VII.
For example, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of Russia’s Liberal Democratic party and Vice-Chairman of the Duma, doesn’t “care about the heir”.
“The British monarchy,” he declared, “destroyed our state. That is why the birth of another British monarch, who will suck our blood somewhere in the mid-21st century, cannot bring us any kind of happiness.”
For those of you who don’t follow Russian politics, their LibDems are just like ours in that they’re the country’s third party. Unlike our LibDems, they aren’t likely to be bumped down to fourth place. Also unlike ours, their LibDems are fascists.
All told, Zhirinovsky represents a viable political force in Russia and, though regarded as rather colourful, he is a legitimate part of the mainstream political mix.
That confers a certain quality on Russia’s mainstream that should make our ears perk up: civilised people should listen when political leaders speak in a rogue state that happens to be one of the world’s two greatest military powers.
In the past Mr Zhirinovsky enunciated, in his inimitable manner, Russia’s traditional geopolitical ambitions that tend to be vectored southwards. Specifically he predicted that “Russian soldiers will wash their boots in the Indian ocean”, which is a long way to go for a shoeshine.
A master of all media, Zhirinovsky was once filmed drinking with his acolytes and ranting about the then US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to whose putative bellicosity he had taken an exception.
As a curative for that condition, the Vice Speaker of the Russian parliament suggested the “black bitch” should come to Russia and visit Spetznaz barracks. There she would be gang-banged until “soldierly sperm would come out of her ears”, thereby rendering her foreign policy more to Russia’s liking.
Say what you will about Nick Clegg, but our LibDem leader would never utter such a thing about a foreign politician, especially a lady. Not on video at any rate.
I found two things fascinating about Zhirinovsky’s tirade about our future king. First, it’s his interpretation of history.
Exactly how did the British monarchy destroy the Russian state? It’s true that both Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra were first cousins to George V, but that doesn’t make them British monarchs.
All European royal families were interrelated, and Nicholas’s exotic blood mix featured considerably more Danish blood than Russian. He was also first cousin to the Kaiser, which didn’t make him a German ruler either.
So even assuming for the sake of argument that Zhirinovsky blames Nicholas for destroying the Russian state, the tsar certainly didn’t do so because he was related to Queen Victoria. But the Russians have a particular knack for blaming others for their misfortunes.
What really amazed me about Zhirinovsky’s diatribe is his optimistic prognosis for Britain’s future. Though clearly not the best friend of our country, he’s predicting its growing infinitely more powerful than it is at present. Moreover, he expects not only the country to grow stronger, but also its monarchy.
How else will our future king be able to suck Russian blood by mid-century? English monarchs, or for that matter Britain, were unable to act in that capacity even when Britannia ruled the waves.
Does Zhirinovsky feel that the geopolitical balance will shift our way? And that our monarchs will have a bigger role to play? I do hope he’s right, but I fear he isn’t. In fact, his other prediction, about the Russian boots and the Indian Ocean, is much more likely to come true.
It’s amazing how historical reputations linger long after any reasonable justification for them is gone. Britain, struggling to hold on to her dwindling status, indeed sovereignty, in Europe, is a far cry from the greatest empire the world has ever known.
And even when it was the greatest empire the world has ever known, Britain was far from the world’s greatest blood sucker. Quite the opposite: the empire left a great legacy off which countries like India still live.
Russia too benefited from the creative energy coursing through the empire’s blood. It was the British who discovered and put at Russia’s disposal the first oil fields in the country. It was the British who created the great coal-producing region in the Ukraine.
Its centre is now called Donetsk. In the past it was called Stalino, but its original name was Yuzovka. Few Russians know the etymology of the name, but in fact it came from Hughes, the Welsh mining entrepreneur who developed the region.
Having said all that, it would be nice if in a few decades Britain could be strong enough to get something out of Russia, other than mafioso ‘businessmen’ and KGB assassins.
Zhirinovsky’s nightmare is my dream. Neither, I’m afraid, will come true.