Imperial Legend: The Mysterious Disappearance of Tsar Alexander I

Imperial Legend: The Mysterious Disappearance of Tsar Alexander I

by Alexis S. Troubetzkoy


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Alexander I, one of Russia’s greatest emperors, beloved of his subjects for his many liberalizing works and reforms domestically, and for his astounding—and unexpected—victory over the presumably invulnerable Napoleon Bonaparte, reigned from 1801 to late 1825. But despite his many glittering successes at home and abroad, his immense power and wealth, the tsar was throughout his life a troubled man. Caught up in the personal and political maelstrom between his domineering grandmother Catherine the Great and his highly neurotic and volatile father Paul I, Alexander came to the throne as a result of a coup mounted against his father in March 1801. Although not an active participant in the plot, and reassured that the plan was to depose and exile the unpopular Paul, not to harm him, Alexander was devastated when the takeover turned violent and his father was assassinated. That cloud under which he acceded to the throne never lifted, and throughout his reign he often confided to family and friends his desire to thrust off the burdens of state and retire to some quiet place to live out the rest of his life.  
 By 1825, his popularity waning, the health of his wife becoming more fragile by the day, he decided to remove himself and a bare-bones court to Taganrog, a remote town near the Crimea. A few weeks after his arrival there, he suddenly fell ill and died on November 19, 1825. Or did he? Ever since that day, rumors have swarmed that the young and still-vigorous tsar—he was only forty-eight—had staged his death to expiate the sin that refused to leave him, the sin of patricide. The legend has it that his “reincarnation” took the form of a starets, the humble and holy men who wandered throughout nineteenth-century Russia doing good works. That starets, brilliant and uncommonly erudite, was one Feodor Kuzmich. So widespread and persistent was the belief that Tsar Alexander and Feodor Kuzmich were one and the same that the great Leo Tolstoy planned to write a book on the subject. Imperial Legend, with a deft touch and a fresh voice, “solves” one of the most intriguing royal mysteries of the past two centuries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611457117
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 02/08/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Alexis S. Troubetzkoy was born in Paris in 1934
into a Russian princely family and emigrated to the United States at an early age.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Acknowledgments xiii

An Abridged Romanov Genealogy xv

1 Paris, 1814-Tomsk, Siberia, 1864 1

2 Conspiracy at Mikhailovsky Castle 13

3 Tsar Paul's Revenge 33

4 Courage from the Cognac Bottle 47

5 The Crowned Hamlet 59

6 A Riddle "wrapped in a Mystery 77

7 The Defeat of the Grande Armée 91

8 The Crown: An Increasing Burden 109

9 God Is Punishing Us for Our Sins 119

10 Retreat to Taganrog 133

11 The Fatal Illness 145

12 A Time for Mourning 163

13 From Taganrog to St. Petersburg 173

14 The Life and Death of Feodor Kuzmich 189

15 The Core of the Mystery 205

16 Elizaveta and Alexander 227

17 The Mystery That Will Not Die 237

18 The Unknown Yacht 249

19 The Final Testimony 257

Appendix A 267

Appendix B 271

Reference Notes 275

Bibliography 285

Index 291

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