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Russian tsar 'lived secretly as monk in Siberia' for decades after history books say he died

By Anna Liesowska
24 July 2015

New handwriting analysis suggests his death was faked so he could repent his sins as holy man.

Now analysis suggests strong similarities between the handwritings of Alexander I and the monk. Picture: Vesti Tomsk

Rumours have long suggested that emperor Alexander I staged his death in 1825 and became holy man Feodor Kuzmich, also known as Feodor Tomsky.

A theory was that he wanted  forgiveness for any role he may have played in the assassination of his father Pavel I in 1801, or in benefiting from the work of others in slaying the tsar.  

Now analysis by Svetlana Semyonova, president of Russian Graphological Society, suggests strong similarities between the handwritings of Alexander I and the mysterious monk. 'I was given a handwritten by Alexander I at the age of 45, and also another handwritten sample by Feodor Kuzmich,' she said. 'As a graphologist, I have noted an unusual style of both handwritings.'

Svetlana Semyonova

Svetlana Semyonova, president of Russian Graphological Society, suggests strong similarities between the handwritings of Alexander I and the mysterious monk. Picture: RIA Tomsk

Tiny characteristics of the handwriting and the psychological portraits of both authors suggest with the high level of certainty that 'it was one and the same man. 

'The only difference is that in the handwriting of an 82 year old man we can see that he was deep in his spiritual world, arches and circles appeared in his writing.

'But key features remained the same in all works.'

New handwriting analysis suggests Russia tsar did NOT die, as history books said


New handwriting analysis suggests Russia tsar did NOT die, as history books said


Russian tsar 'lived secretly as monk in Siberia' for decades after history books say he died
Handqritings' comparison, portraits of Tsar Alexander I and monk Feodor and a sample of Alexander I's handwriting. Pictures: Vesti Tomsk


The tsar died 1 December 1825 at the age of 47. He contracted a cold which developed into typhus, from which he died in the southern city of Taganrog. His wife and empress Elizabeth died the following year, but again amid rumours that the death was faked, and that she became a nun, known as Silent Vera. 

Newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported that her handwriting of the tsarina and nun were also similar. 

The monk appeared in the Siberian city of Tomsk in 1837 and lived there until his death in 1864.

Since 1995, the remains of 'saint monk' Feodor are treated like a relic in Tomsk.

Professor Andrey Rachinsky, of the Paris Institute of Eastern Languages and Civilisations, said at a forum on Alexander I in Tomsk that various other facts point to a link between the royal and the monk. For example, a portrait of the monk was on the wall of Tsar Alexander III office next to those of his royal predecessors.

New handwriting analysis suggests Russia tsar did NOT die, as history books said


New handwriting analysis suggests Russia tsar did NOT die, as history books said


New handwriting analysis suggests Russia tsar did NOT die, as history books said
Two samples of monk Feodor's handwriting and an icon depicting the monk. Pictures: Vesti Tomsk


A merchant from Tomsk, Semyon Khromov, in whose house Feodor lived, passed his belongings after his death to the head of Holy Synod Konstantin Pobedonostsev, a man seen as close to the tsar. The professor also noted that the empress Elizabeth (Elizaveta) did not act as might have been expected after her husband's death in Taganrog. 

This year is 190th anniversary of Alexander I's death and the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the remains of monk 'Feodor Tomsky'.

Tomsk branch of the Orthodox church is not against the idea of holding a DNA test of the remains of monk Feodor. 

Writer Leo Tolstoy wrote: 'Even when monk Feodor Kuzmich was alive - he came to Siberia in 1836 and lived for 27 years in various places there - there were strange rumours about him that he was hiding his real name and position and that it was Emperor Alexander I. After the monk's death these rumours only spread and became stronger. Not only common people believed them but many from the elite, including the royal family of Tsar Alexander III.

Empress Elizabeth


Empress Elizabeth


Silent Vera

Alexander's wife and empress Elizabeth died the following year, but again amid rumours that the death was faked, and that she became a nun, known as Silent Vera.  Pictures: Wikipdia

'The reasons for these rumours were the following: Alexander died unexpectedly, he did not suffer from any disease before, he died far away from home in a remote place of Taganrog, and when he was put in the coffin many who saw him, said that he changed a lot, this is why the coffin was quickly sealed. 

'It was known that Alexander said and wrote that he wanted so much to leave his post and to stay away from this world. And one more fact which is less known is that in the official statement where Alexander's dead body was described there was a line that his back and bottom were of dark red colour and it was hardly possible to be a true description of the body of the emperor'.

New handwriting analysis suggests Russia tsar did NOT die, as history books said
Monk Feodor on his deathbed. Picture: Vesti Tomsk


'Back to Kuzmich and why he was thought to be Alexander. First of all the monk's height and appearance was so much like the emperor's, that people (especially servants who confirmed Kuzmich was Alexander) who saw Alexander or his portraits have found them really identical. 

'The age was the same, the same kind of round shoulders.

'Secondly, this Kuzmich who used to say that he was a homeless man who does not remember his family, knew foreign languages and was in a noble way gentle with others which clearly meant that he was the person with a high position in the society. 

'Thirdly, the monk never told his name and position to anyone but sometimes he clearly behaved in a way he was higher than other people. 

'Fourthly, before his death he destroyed some papers but one sheet remained, it was a coded message signed with initials A. and P. (which supporters of the theory see as standing for Alexander Pavlovich, his name and patronymic). 

'Fifthly, despite of all his faith, he never fasted. When an archpriest tried to persuade him to follow his duty of a believer, he said: 'If I had not confessed the truth about myself, the heavens would have been surprised, if I had confessed it, the earth would have been surprised'.' 

Comments (8)

Very interesting story, and seems like it's possible that it's true.
But why did the tsarina has to pretend ton die too?
As a dowager empress she was allowed to become a nun and
Leave the public life. And, does the dna sample of tsar nikolai 2
Still exist somewhere? If the dna of kuzmich will be checked
(If his coffin will be opened) at least we'll be able to know
If he's relative of nikolai 2 without need to open more coffins...
Sharon, Israel
08/05/2017 16:02
0
0
The body of Alexander I was not properly embalmed and started decomposing long before it reached Petersburg, and by then was so grotesquely distorted that there could be no open coffin. This fueled the rumors that there was no body inside. The Duke of Wellington described the funeral: "A Greek funeral is certainly calculated to rouse one's feelings, but with a stinking corpse and endless chanting, it was a "terrible ceremony.""

As for handwriting, just remember the verdict in the trial of Franzisca Schanzkowska whose handwriting was found identical to that of Grand Duchess Anastasia. Graphology is nothing but educated guessing.
ChatNoir, USA
18/11/2016 10:21
3
0
My Grandfather on my maternal side, Alexander Kuzmich, left Russia and lived in Boston. He died very young at around age 42 (around 1945), and left his wife Anna Bandolevich-Kuzmich and five children (Alexander, William, Catherine (my Mother), Helen and oldest daughter Mary who he adopted). The name Alexander threads throughout my family, both male and females carrying names like Alexis, Alex, and is also used as a middle name. The Kuzmich family is quite large and most believe we are related. He also had a brother that lived in Boston. We would welcome any information that you may have, w have no records.
Audrey DeSisto, Boston, Massachusetts USA
07/11/2016 03:23
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0
What a story! Should be a novel or a movie! Maybe it is? In Russian perhaps?

Would like to know.
David Playfair < david.playfair@gmail.com >, Saint John's, Newfoundland, Canada
25/08/2016 23:54
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0
The BBC aired a documentary last year on this subject, it came to much the same conclusions based on most of the clues included in this article. Very interesting indeed.
Vera Vadimovna Narishkina, Geneva, Switzerland
02/04/2016 00:12
2
0
Forgot to mention that while I had not heard the story of his wife perhaps also faking her own demise, I do remember reading that their marriage was a troubled one and they lived apart for much of their marriage. I was also loaned a book on Fyodor Kuzmich by a college history professor but as that was nearly 50 years ago, I don't remember the name of the book or its author. I only remember one brief remark made by the monk. Angered by the noise of some workmen nearby, he told them "A word from me to St Petersburg and you would all cease to exist." Then he reconsidered his anger and begged their forgiveness..
Lee, Lincoln USA
09/01/2016 15:51
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Remember reading somewhere that when the tomb of Alexander I was opened in the 1920s with permission from the Soviet authorities, it was found to be empty.
Lee, Lincoln USA
09/01/2016 15:38
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1
stranger things have happened. and in the age of DNA it should be no trouble to find out who was who... if the will is there.
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
25/07/2015 11:50
9
1
1

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