An Interview with a Russian Countess

Countess Benckendorff, a parishioner since 2010, has kindly agreed to be interviewed about the contemporary situation in Russia. We have recorded her answers, slightly edited, below.


Q: Can you tell us something about the Benckendorff family? I presume it is a German name.

A: The Benckendorffs were Saxons, not Germans. The Germans persecuted us. We were first recorded in 1240 in the village of Benckendorff in Saxony in eastern Germany, from where we became known as von Benckendorff. 300 years later some of our family settled further east in the Baltics, at first in Riga, then near Tallinn. After the Baltics had been absorbed into the Russian Empire, many of the family settled in the Morshansk area of the Tambov province, where in 1775 we were awarded the Sosnovka estate of 8,000 acres. In the early 19th century we were made counts in gratitude for service to the Tsar.

After 1917, part of the family, including a cousin Konstantin, who was the last ambassador of the Tsar to Great Britain, emigrated. He passed away in 1917, but belonged to the Germanised Lutheran-Catholic side of the family and did not even speak Russian very well. He was allowed to write his reports as ambassador in French, which everyone in Saint Petersburg spoke fluently at that time. However, his family, who were Orthodox, came to live in Suffolk because of the agricultural connections of the Benckendorff family. Suffolk farm machinery was used in Sosnovka.

Thus, our branch of the family had been Russianised in the late eighteenth century and became Orthodox. After 1917 we remained in Russia, still living in Morshansk in the Tambov province. Obviously, we lost everything and we had to hide our identity, changing our surname in the 1920s, but we always remained faithful to the Orthodox Faith, the Tsar and Rus, to all our traditions. We were always different from others and members of our branch of the family never became members of the Party. We did not want to be Sovietised.

Q: What happened to your family inside the Soviet Union?

A: Our family suffered. In 1937 one of our family, who had been sent to the camps, was shot for being an Orthodox priest and is venerated as a New Martyr.  We have his icon. He is our family saint.

We lived all over the European part of the USSR and there are still Benckendorffs in the Ukraine (including a famous film-maker), Belarus and the Baltics, as well as Russia. Since the fall of the USSR, as you say in English, we have been scattered to the four winds. Some of us now live in England, Denmark and the USA. In England we attend the Romanian church, in the USA the OCA. We are the new White emigration, though we still use our 1920s name. It is just too complicated to change our name back for the moment. But that will come. I and my husband are talking about doing this at this very moment.

Q: You mention the Ukraine. What is your view of the conflict there today?

A: The Ukraine? First of all, people must understand that the war there is nothing to do with the Ukraine. It is between Western imperialism with its wealthy oligarchs who control the USA, and the rest of humanity with its poor people who are represented by Russia. The war is between the globalist rich like Soros and Schwab against humanity, between the elite minority with its media dictatorship, arms merchants, global warming, artificial covid and transgenderism, and the vast majority of the world with its ordinary people who just love their homelands and their families. The naïve Ukrainians are being used as paid mercenaries by the rich West as cannon fodder. As the Western elite said, they will fight till the last Ukrainian. They will not die themselves because they do not believe in anything, except in themselves. They are all narcissists, so others die in their name.

The origin of the Ukrainian tragedy is in the overthrow of the Tsar in 1917. He was the one person who linked us all together, the central point. After he was overthrown, what could you expect? There was no unity left, nothing to fight for. Through weakness and lack of principle, willingness to sell themselves for money, first the western Ukrainians allowed themselves to be conquered by the Nazis and then by the Americans. They always go wherever they imagine they have an advantage. Nazis and Americans are the same thing, those so-called Ukrainians are Nazis.

Until all the peoples of the former USSR have truly repented for their ancestors’ sin in 1917, there will be conflict among its former peoples. I just hope that the conflict in the Ukraine is the last post-Soviet conflict, with the other conflicts of the traitors in the Caucasus, in Georgia and Armenia, and elsewhere. Then there can at last be the restoration of the real Rus and all the other countries will be free.

Q: What do you think of the old White Russian emigration?

A: They had to emigrate. It was that or be killed by the Bolsheviks. But most of them were also against the Tsar, they overthrew him, they were just right-wing atheists like the Bolsheviks, who were left-wing atheists. Many of the so-called Whites entirely lacked patriotism. Some of them supported Hitler invade Russia during the war and today their descendants support the Americans, which is the same thing. Nazism is an inherently Western colonial ideology, German or American, French or British, Belgian or Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, Austrian or Dutch. It was all about killing and exploiting others who are considered to be inferior subhumans, Untermenschen, as the Germans called them. What is this forced imposition of transgenderism, if not Nazism? The name NATO, which was staffed by German Nazis from the outset, even sounds like the word Nazi.

Q: Should all Russian Orthodox be under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate?

A: How is that possible? That is absurd! The Moscow Patriarchate is a house divided because it still has to be cleansed of Sovietism and post-Sovietism. It is very, very corrupt and many of the bishops are just capitalist oligarchs, interested only in money and luxury and they defrock good priests for disagreeing with their Sovietism and denouncing them for their corruption and immorality. The fools-for-Christ tell the truth, not the bishops. If the bishops told the truth, we would not need fools-for-Christ. Some of the bishops are atheists or moral perverts, just as they were in the Soviet period. Look at Filaret with his palace in Kiev. It is shameful.

Most of the Russian bishops should be sent to monasteries to repent for the rest of their lives. Only, if they were sent there, you would see that most of them would run away and defrock themselves. Anything except repent! Like that awful Bishop Maxim in London, who ran away because he was running a drugs factory in Saint Petersburg with his boyfriend. That is the level of so many Russian bishops today, here or in Russia. They are on the same level as the Greeks from Istanbul. There is no difference between them.

True, after 1991 the Patriarchate made the first leap – from the theory of Soviet ideology. But it failed to make the second leap – from the practice of Soviet corruption. Nowadays you can be an atheist in the Church, all you need to do is decide which Church group you as an atheist want to join.

Here in England, for example, I have been horrified by ROCOR. It is full of American agents, it is an anti-Russian organisation, just a Fascistic branch of the CIA, right-wing atheists. Little wonder so many in ROCOR sided with the Nazis against Russia then. Now they are doing it again. ROCOR refuses to be nice or negotiate and thinks that by being nasty and punishing, it wins. In fact, it punishes itself and loses, just like the US government in its dealings with other countries. Treachery is everywhere. As someone said, the persecuted Church has become the persecuting Church. The greatness of the Russian Church is when it is persecuted. It is not in its bishops, with rare exceptions. And certainly not in today’s bishops.

Q: How do you see Western Europe?

A: It is so sad. Old Europe is dying. I think present Europe, which has already become very decadent, will have to hit rock bottom before it can be reformed. Only then will the various nations of Europe be able to negotiate with Russia and return individually to having normal relations with Russia, the wider world and with each other. Probably Europe is not far off rock-bottom now. My husband fears the situation in France especially. He says there could be a revolution there, if a military coup does not take place first.

Q: You have lived in England for 14 years and speak English fluently now. How do you see England?

A: When we first came here, we knew nothing. I had studied German at school and my husband French. We just came to work, to survive, like everyone else. But now we have come to appreciate and love Old England, the countryside, the thatched cottages, the traditions. For example, we go regularly to Ely to venerate St Audrey, whose hand is still venerated there, still making the sign of the cross over the city through all these centuries. Her presence is there. But we also see how Americanised modern England has become, like the rest of Western Europe in general, even the Catholic countries in the south.

For example, a few days ago when I had a day off, we were sitting in the lovely Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds, another city of a saint. Two schoolgirls, aged perhaps 9 or 10, walked by in their lovely uniforms. So sweet and innocent. And we thought this is the real England. And then a very badly-dressed young man, his face covered in tattoos and pieces of metal, walked by, wearing a ragged T-shirt with the logo of an American baseball team. My husband said that he must have many psychological problems to do that to himself. I mean you can remove psychological complexes, but how can you remove tattoos on your face? He had come from another planet, as far as I am concerned. Two different worlds.

Of the real England, there are still some beautiful fragments left. We have recently been on holiday in Shropshire. How lovely it is there. But I fear that England has fallen too far and cannot now be restored. Though there are still many English people who are very kind. As for the government and British politicians, I have no time for any of them. They are all liars and have made the lives of ordinary English people much worse. Nowadays you cannot find a dentist in England. Why? Because the politicians gave all our money to that atheist and murderer Zelensky.

Q: What do you think of the Royal Family?

A: There is not one any more. Queen Elizabeth was the last who still had something. We watched her funeral on television. That was the funeral of Old England. When England is free again, you will need to find an English noble family to replace all those ‘royals’. You need a new Royal Family for England. You need an Alfred II, a Patriot-King, not a false one paid by those behind the government to do and say whatever they order him to do.

Q: You have had British citizenship for four years now. Will you vote in the elections in the UK?

Only for a party that promises to stop arming the Kiev regime and help end the war there. Is there such a party? All over Western Europe the US-chosen elites are just hanging on to power, but they will be swept away by their peoples. They are war criminals, responsible for the deaths of all those poor Ukrainians, who would have been happy to live in peace with Russia years ago, if the elite had not wanted them to make war against Russia.

Q: Do you think you will return to Russia one day?

A: We have friends who have already returned, but we are attached to East Anglia. Tsar Nicholas came here, to Sandringham and Kings Lynn. We would like to open a memorial church in Kings Lynn, dedicated to the Imperial Martyrs. As regards returning to Russia, we both prefer to wait until the new Tsar. We want to be in Russia for his enthronement. Then we shall see.

Q: The new Tsar?

A: Yes. After President Putin, who does not yet love Tsar Nicholas, there will be a Tsar.

Q: Are you sure?

A: Of course, the saints and elders have said so. See how already the best of the Tsar’s Russia is being restored and reconstituted even now. Everything that was good about the Tsar’s Russia – policies like free medicine and education, including higher education for women, were kept by the USSR – is being restored. Look at how North Korea is now allied with Russia, as it was until 1904 when the Japanese treacherously attacked Russia and went on to destroy Korea.

Recently Russia became the fourth largest economy in the world, as it was in 1914. It will overtake the USA eventually. And then see how Russia is forming a mighty coalition with countries which wanted to be with Russia or were supported by Russia before 1917, with India, South Africa, Iran, Ethiopia, Thailand and many other countries like Vietnam and Algeria, Afghanistan and Cuba, Indonesia and Turkey. The whole of Eurasia and Africa are allying.

Q: But who will the candidate for the new Tsar be? A Romanov from the emigration?

A: The Romanovs were nearly all traitors to the Tsar, even before the Revolution. The émigré Romanovs definitely cannot provide any serious candidate. That is laughable. Most of them cannot even speak Russian and many are not Orthodox! The new Tsar must come from inside Rus, as his ancestors went through the Soviet period. Only such a man can understand the peoples of Rus today. Once you emigrate forever, you become irrelevant to the Motherland. We live in the present, emigres live in the past. I do not know who the next Tsar will be, but there are many people of Romanov descent inside Rus. The prophecies say that the future Tsar’s mother will be a Romanov. God will provide. You will see.

Q: Thank you. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers in conclusion?

A: Yes, those same words again: God will provide. He always does. Do not be afraid. Everything will fall back into place.