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How a Russian adventurer managed to become the king of a European state in the 20th century
How a Russian adventurer managed to become the king of a European state in the 20th century

Boris Skosyrev can be called a unique person: a foreigner, far from an aristocrat, he managed to become the king of a foreign country, without any coup d'etat. Taking advantage of the unstable situation in Europe and combining his oratorical skills with legal knowledge, Skosyrev received royal power in Andorra for 12 days. Perhaps his reign would have lasted much longer if the newly-made king had not made the fatal mistake of leaving the country without its first and last monarch.

How a native of an old Petersburg merchant family ended up in Andorra

Boris Skosyrev is an illegal emigrant who was able to become the king of Andorra

Boris Mikhailovich Skosyrev, born on June 12, 1896 in the Lida district of the Vilna province, was one of the descendants of a wealthy merchant family. It is known that he received a university education and by the age of 21 he spoke excellent German, English and French.

Before arriving in Andorra, the young man led an active and very diverse life. He managed to visit the British armored battalion, which fought in the First World War on the Russian front, in the period 1918-1920. to work as a translator in the military structures of Great Britain, to fulfill (according to him) a number of secret orders of the British government, to organize cooperation with Japanese diplomats.

However, financial problems with the police forced Skosyrev to move to Holland in 1922. There, the Russian emigrant received citizenship and after some time began to appear in society as the Count of Orange, explaining the appearance of the title by Queen Velhelmina's award for some secret services for the court.

During 1924-1934, Boris Mikhailovich actively traveled not only in Europe, but also in Latin America: here he learned Spanish and organized a commercial society in Colombia to conduct import and export operations. In March 1931, Skosyrev married - a rich 45-year-old Frenchwoman Marie-Louise Para de Gassier became the chosen one of the 35-year-old handsome man (and Skosyrev was really good-looking).

The calm family life did not captivate the adventurer at all, and two years later he set off to conquer Andorra - a tiny country with feudal remnants and a turbulent political situation.

How the Russian emigrant managed to interest the General Council of Andorra and become the king of this country

Andorra at the beginning of the 20th century

In 1933, Andorra, located between Spain and France, was under the tutelage of the French President and Bishop of Urgell; the highest legislative and executive body of the country was the General Council. It was to him that Skosyrev turned with his project of reforms, which, according to the adventurer, were supposed to modernize the country, making it a prosperous European micropower.

Although the plan interested the members of the Council, it was not supported by the French and Spanish authorities, who decided to expel the reformer who had come out of nowhere from the ward country. However, the "Count of Orange" was not going to surrender - he realized that he would still find support in the General Council and a month later, having illegally returned back, he again turned to the parliamentarians.True, this time, along with the project of innovations, Skosyrev also suggested making himself king - in order to speed up the implementation of his own ideas.

Surprisingly, but the strength of the foreigner's conviction played, most likely, its role - on July 8, 1934, a little-known principality acquired a monarch: Boris Mikhailovich Skosyrev, a Russian emigrant and charming adventurer, became Boris I.

The fatal mistake of Boris I, or what the newly-made king of Andorra and the bishop of Urgell did not share

Boris Mikhailovich managed to become the first and last king of Andorra. His reign lasted 12 days, and he lost his throne only because of one miscalculation - he wanted to build resorts and casinos

Having received a royal position, the first king in the history of Andorra began to honestly implement the planned reforms. To begin with, the Constitution was developed: a document of 17 articles proclaimed, in addition to state independence, universal equality before the law, complete exemption from taxes, the right to manifest civic position and political views. The former "count" did not forget about the state symbols, having changed the national flag of the country. By subsequent decrees, Boris the First planned to carry out a land reform and … to open numerous casinos in the principality.

Bishop of Urgell

It was the desire to turn the country into a play area that became the stumbling block between the Andorran king and the Bishop of Urgell. He was very approving of the reforms of the newly-minted monarch, but he met with hostility the information about gambling establishments, considering them a product of the devil. Boris I did not bother with negotiations and promises - he simply declared war on an obstinate clergyman. For which he soon paid: on July 20, 1934, the king was arrested by the Spanish gendarmes, depriving the monarch of power just 12 days after ascending to the throne.

How was the fate of Boris Skosyrev after the arrest

Andorra will accept the laws proposed by its ruler and become a prosperous European state, but without Skosyrev

After the arrest, the failed king was taken to Spain, where during the trial on October 31, 1934, he was sentenced to one year in prison. It is interesting that during the trial Skosyrev was accused only of illegally crossing the border, without saying a word about the time of his monarchical reign. Boris Mikhailovich served time in a Spanish prison as a mere mortal. However, according to an American journalist who visited Skosyrev in captivity, he looked dignified: the unchanging monocle in the eye and the veil of his own exclusivity markedly distinguished the former king from other prisoners. After several months of imprisonment, the Andorran reformer, taking into account the time of pre-trial detention, spent less than a year in prison - Skosyrev was exiled to Portugal. From there, at the end of 1935, at his own request, he moved to France, where his legal wife Marie-Louise lived in the city of Saint-Cannes.

History is silent as to why a year later the French authorities detained and sent Skosyrev to a settlement camp near Mandom, restricting his freedom of movement around the country. In 1939, again for unknown reasons, Boris was demanded to leave France within 3 days, threatening to be sent to a camp for unreliable foreigners. Apparently, Skosyrev really did not have a way of retreat, because in November 1939 he found himself in the desired camp called La Verne.

There are two versions of how the fate of this unusual person developed further. One of them says that Skosyrev settled in the FRG in the mid-50s and died in the town of Boppard, having lived to be 93 years old. Another, less reliable version, speaks of the death of the Vilna adventurer either during the war, or a few years after its end.

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