On December 1, 1825, the Russian Emperor Alexander the First died unexpectedly in Taganrog. He died in the house of the Taganrog mayor Pyotr Afanasyevich Papkov during an inspection trip in the south of Russia. The ruler was at that time only 47 years old, the death of Alexander Pavlovich caused many secrets and mysteries that have not been solved until our time.
The emperor never complained about his health, the causes of death were named very different: cholera, typhoid fever, complications from a severe cold, and so on. The great poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin did not pass over in silence this tragic event, writing the following lines: "I spent my whole life on the road, caught a cold and died in Taganrog."
The coffin with the body of the late emperor was sent to the capital, but did not open during the farewell ceremony, which further increased suspicions about the mystery of Alexander's death. It was also surprising that Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna did not accompany her husband's coffin to Petersburg, but remained in Taganrog, citing poor health.
In 1836, in the Krasnoufimsky district of the Perm province, a man of about 60 years old was arrested for vagrancy, who identified himself as Fyodor Kuzmich. During interrogation, he gave evasive answers, and did not name his origin. He was sentenced to 20 lashes with a whip and exile to Siberia.
In the spring of the following year, the mysterious prisoner arrived in the Tomsk province, but, due to his age, could not be involved in hard physical work. Fyodor Kuzmich won the favor of the guards and prisoners, was distinguished by meekness, showed concern for sick prisoners. He was allowed to live in a separate cell in the village of Beloyarskaya, where he spent time in solitude and prayer.
Five years later, Fyodor Kuzmich received the right to free movement, taught children to read and write in neighboring villages, refusing money and accepting only food as payment. Who was the first to notice the striking resemblance of the poor old man to the Emperor Alexander the First remains a mystery. According to one version, it was the Cossack Berezin, who once served in St. Petersburg and personally saw the emperor. According to other sources - a priest, exiled for something from the capital to Siberia.
People who personally knew Fyodor Kuzmich assured that he spoke French fluently and was in secret correspondence with high officials. Upon learning of the death of Emperor Nicholas the First, the elder prayed for his soul for a long time with tears in his eyes. All this had nothing to do with the name of a simple vagabond. There were persistent rumors that Fyodor Kuzmich was none other than Emperor Alexander the First himself, who voluntarily left the throne many years ago.
There is a legend that, shortly before the death of Fyodor Kuzmich, the merchant Semyon Feofanovich Khromov asked the elder - was the rumor true that he was really a former Russian emperor? The elder crossed himself and said quietly: "There is no secret that would not be revealed."
The mysterious old man died on February 1, 1864 in Tomsk. In 1984 he was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. But the main secret of Fyodor Kuzmich's life remained unsolved - was he the emperor before his departure to Siberia?