The identity of Romanov family remains is not the only controversial subject in the headlines these days. Another Romanov tsar, Alexander I, is also the subject of a renewed identity controversy.
Having recently examined original writings, President of Russian Graphology Society Svetlana Semyonova stated that the handwriting of Tsar Alexander I and that of the “Holy Staretz” Feodor Kuzmich of Tomsk has “absolute similarity” and belong to the same person . How legitimate is this conclusion? The answer to this question comes from Alexander Arkhangelsky, a Ph.D. and author of the biography of Alexander I.
Anything is possible in history. Could Alexander I “simply” have died in Taganrog? Of course. Could he have absconded his imperial throne without abdication and just abandon the empire to its fate, making all subsequent reigns dubious and questionable? Technically the answer is yes. Only in this case this would be the second crime of his life – after a tacit consent to the removal (murder) of his father, Tsar Paul I .
Could Alexander I have become (if he indeed absconded) the Monk Feodor Kuzmich? Probably. But we must work only with real facts, separating them from interpretations. And to be honest: some of these “facts” we know, some of them we assume, and some of them are just myths.
Hence, the very biased sounding conclusion in the title of a recent historic conference – “Alexander I – Saint Feodor of Tomsk” – automatically precludes the participation of any serious scientist.
First, the conference should have been called something along the lines of: “Alexander I and the Staretz Feodor Kuzmich: the Problem of Identity.” Not the best of titles either, but at least more clear on what this is about.
Second, in order to trust the findings of graphologists, we should know them not just as authors of some interesting publications, but as legitimate specialists in the field of forensics. If a particular graphologist who was able to solve dozens of major crimes would verify the handwriting of the Tsar and the monk, based on his or her her actual professional practice, and then come to a conclusion, we could then discuss these findings. Not take them for granted, mind you, but at least analyze them. But when the participating graphologists are not even particularly well known in the field of forensics, this leads to certain doubts.
As for the author of this sensationalist statement, Svetlana Semyonova, her only work found the Internet was devoted to the suicide note of the poet Marina Tsvetaeva in Yelabug. There, based on tracing particular letters, conclusions were made about the poet’s state of mind, and a concept was created. Standing alone this concept is good- Tsvetaeva was pressured by NKVD, but how much of it actually resembles scientifically established truth – cannot be judged.
Conclusion: in order to discuss the identity of the Tsar and the Monk based on the analysis of their handwriting, this analysis needs to be performed by a professional graphologist/criminologist. And then we may only discuss it, as even genetic analysis is not always considered absolute “proof”.
At this time there is nothing to even discuss – guesswork is not appropriate for science.