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Head of House of Romanovs calls on Russians to be optimistic about lifting of sanctions

Grand Princess Maria arrived in Crimea on Monday

SEVASTOPOL, May 29. /TASS/. It is worthwhile for the Russians to look optimistically at the prospect for the lifting of Western sanctions, Grand Princess Maria Vladimirovna, the head of the Imperial House of the Romanovs told TASS on Tuesday.

Grand Princess Maria and her son, Grand Prince Georgy Mikhailovich, arrived in Crimea on Monday as part of a trip timed for the 235th anniversary of incorporation of the Crimean Peninsula in Russia.

Also on Monday, they opened the exhibition ‘Crimean Sceneries in the Works of Russian Painters’ in Sevastopol.

On Tuesday, the Grand Princess and the Grand Prince took part in a flower-laying ceremony at the monument to Empress Catherine II, the founder of the city, and at the memorial to heroic defenders of the city in 1941 and 1942. They also held meetings with the Sevastopol municipal officials and commanders of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

In the course of their stay that will last through to June 3, they plan visiting the cities of Kerch and Theodosia and attend a prayer in the St John the Baptist’s church built in the 4th century.

As she answered a question on the prospects for the lifting of the West’s anti-Russian sanctions, Grand Princess Maria said, "All of that will pass. Simply it’s important to wait. If we feel optimistic, this period [of expectation] might be shorter."

She said she felt certain the sanctions would be lifted in any event.

The Grand Princess also told reporters Crimea’s development after reunification with Russia in 2014 took on special significance. She especially singled out construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge.

"When I come to Crimea, this is always a great joy for me," she said. "I see all this construction around and the road [Taurida federal road - TASS] that’s being built and I really feel glad for you."

Grand Princess Maria voiced the hope completion of the Kerch Strait Bridge would improve the Crimeans’ life.

Maria Vladimirovna is the only sibling in the family of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, the head of the Russian Imperial House in Exile [the son of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich who declared himself the formal head of the Imperial Family in Exile in 1924] and Princess Leonida Georgiyevna Bagration-Mukhranskaya. Her parents belonged to a branch of the Imperial Family that began with Grand Duke Nicholas Jr., the grandson of Emperor Nicholas I [b. 1796, d. 1855].

Catherine II, who is also known as Catherine the Great, signed a manifesto on incorporation of Crimea, the Taman Peninsula and the Kuban River area in the Russian Empire on April 19, 1783. The city of Sevastopol that would become the main base of the newly created Russian Black Sea Fleet somewhat later was founded the same year.

The Kerch Strait Bridge, commissioned for full-scale operation on May 15, has linked Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the mainland. Its construction became necessary after the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March 2014.

The construction works began in February 2016. The overall cost of the project reached 228 billion rubles [$ 3.8 bln].

All the costs were covered by allocations from the federal budget in the framework of a federal program for development of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which makes up a separate constituent entity of the Russian Federation.

Initial plans featured the commissioning of the automobile sector of the bridge project in December 2018 but the contractors managed to complete it seven months earlier.

President Vladimir Putin led the gala opening ceremony on May 15 and regular traffic on the bridge began on May 16.