Alexei Poutziado is the first pretender recorded. He appears in Omsk city in
1919 and was quickly unmasked by Pierre Gilliard, the former Alexei
preceptor which evoque this story in his book "Le
tragique Destin de Nicolas II et de sa famille"
"General D- informed me that he wanted to show me a 'boy who claimed to be
the Tsarevich'. I knew in fact that a rumour was spreading in Omsk that the
Tsarevich was still alive. He was announced to be in a small town of Altai.
I had been told that the inhabitants had greeted him with enthusiasm, the
schoolchildren had made a collection on his behalf, and the governor of the
station had offered him, on his knees, bread and salt.
In addition, Admiral Kolchak had received a telegram
asking him to come to the assistance of the pretended Tsarevich (Shortly
after my departure the bogus Tsarevich ultimately confessed the imposture).
I had paid no attention to these stories.
Fearing that these circumstances might give rise to
difficulties, the Admiral had had the "Pretender" brought to Omsk; and
General D- had called for me, thinking that my evidence would settle the
difficulty and put a stop to the legend that was beginning to grow up.
The door of the next room was opened a little, and I
was able to observe, unknown to him, a boy, taller and stronger than the
Tsarevich, who seemed to me fifteen or sixteen years old. His sailor's
costume, the colour of his hair, and the way it was arranged were vaguely
reminiscent of Aleksey Nicolaievich. There the resemblance ended.
I told General D- the result of my observations. The
boy was introduced to me. I put several questions to him in French: he
remained dumb. When a reply was insisted upon he said that he understood
everything I had said but had his own reasons for only speaking Russian. I
then addressed him in that language. This, too, brought no results. He said
he had decided to answer no one but Admiral Kolchak himself. So our
Chance had brought across my path the first of the
countless pretenders who doubtless for many years to come will be a source
of trouble and agitation among the ignorant and credulous masses of the