Pacific News Minute: Kiribati Rejects Proposal to Re-establish Romanov Empire

Mar 1, 2017

Anton Bakov and Kiribati's Minister of Environment and Land Tebao Awerika
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A month ago, we reported on a Russian businessman who wanted to revive the Romanov dynasty on three uninhabited islands in Kiribati. Anton Bakov promised to transfer $120 million as soon as the deal was approved, but Kiribati decided to reject the proposal last week. An update from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.



Anton Bakov’s dream of an Imperial See in the Central Pacific foundered on the issue of sovereignty.

Bakov traveled to Kiribati for meetings last month with President Maneti Ma’amau, hoping to conclude an agreement by today.


In exchange for three currently uninhabited islands in the Southern Line group, he told Radio Svoboda that he would transfer $120 million to start, and invest an additional 320 million. Plans called for an airport, resort hotel and other tourist infrastructure on Malden Island, which would be the capital of Bakov’s alternative Russia. A Romanov relative, Karl Emich of Leiningen would be installed as Czar Nicholas the Third.


Which is where the deal came undone. Mr. Bakov wanted Kiribati to transfer its sovereignty over those three islands. Last week, the Kiribati Cabinet declined.


In a post on his Facebook page, Bakov said that his search for sovereign territory would continue despite what he called inevitable difficulties. He previously tried to make a deal in Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Gambia and, reportedly, the Cook Islands.


Radio New Zealand International quoted the academic and Tongan politician Sitiveni Halapua, who congratulated Kiribati: “To Stand up and base their decision on a matter of principle regardless of their own need and economic challenges, I think that is something that ought to be recognized and respected,” he said.