Boris Mikhailovich Skossyreff

Boris Mikhailovich Skossyreff

Vilnius, Lithuania
Death 27 Feb 1989 (aged 92)
Boppard, Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Burial Unknown, Specifically: Currently Researching
Memorial ID 133119124 · View Source
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Boris Skossyreff was born in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania which, at the time, was within the Czarist Russian empire, on 12 June 1896, and he died on 27 February 1989 in Boppard, Rhineland Palatinate, in West Germany.

Бори́с Миха́йлович Ско́сырев
авантюрист, русский эмигрант. Был провозглашён в 1934 году, на некоторое время, королём Андорры.

He was an apparently White Russian adventurer who attempted to seize power in the European microstate of Andorra in 1934. Russian sources give his name in Cyrillic as Борис Скосырев, for which the modern English transliteration of his name would be Skosyrev.

He was also known as Borís Skossyreff Mawrusow: there are various other spellings and misspellings of his name, including Eskossiref and Deskossyieff.

Skossyreff's story

The surviving evidence relating to his life story is scattered across a large range of sources - due in part to his moving between many countries. The elements can partially contradict each other: partially because he himself gave several versions of events.

He claimed to be a member of a minor branch of the Russian nobility, members of which had served in the Czarist army, and left Russia, probably in 1917 with the advent of the Russian Revolution.

Having been involved with the British Army as a liaison officer to Oliver Locker Lampson's RNACD, (Lampson commanded Royal Naval Air Service armoured cars during the First World War, and was also an MP), Skossyreff at some point became linked with the Japanese Military Mission to the UK as a translator. (The Japanese supported the White Russians during the Russian Civil War.) This post ceased with the Armistice - index cards in the FO records at The National Archives refer to now-weeded files on the Japanese Military Mission's departure, and also to an incident with Boris Skossyreff involving a member of the Japanese mission, but Skossyreff remained in London. (The Japanese were more interested in extending their presence in the Pacific/East Asian region than in European affairs.) In 1934 he claimed that he had served with the British armoured car unit on the Russian Front during the First World War: the FO file titles mentioned below suggest a slightly different version of events. He acquired a passport from the Russian embassy in August 1918, and opened an account at the Russo-Asiatic Bank the following month.

In January 1919 Skossyreff was arrested in London on charges of passing cheques fraudulently to hotels where he had been staying (having, on previous occasions, paid his bills), and, as an alien, of failing to register a change of address (as was then required of foreigners). At his trial he claimed that he had, after serving in the Czarist army, in 1917, been imprisoned by the Bolsheviks in the Sts Peter-Paul prison, with his father and three uncles: the others had been killed, but he had managed to escape aided by a friend. He stated that there were moneys available, but they were presently unavailable, in Russia and elsewhere. He also stated that he had changed his name, for fear of the Bolsheviks: the magistrate stated that he could understand the reason for the deception in Russia, but Bolsheviks were not a problem in the UK. (There was, however, according to The Times of 20 January 1919 (page 4), a secret - from the context 'closed' - Bolshevik Congress in London at the time: and, given later events (see below), Boris' fears were not wholly unjustified.) The money required for paying the debts was provided from sources that were not clearly explained.

He was later expelled from Britain for further incidents of a similar nature, and returned at a later date, leaving via Newhaven (which was then the major port for ships to Europe).


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  • Created by: R.C.
  • Added: 20 Jul 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 133119124
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Boris Mikhailovich Skossyreff (16 Jun 1896–27 Feb 1989), Find a Grave Memorial no. 133119124, ; Maintained by R.C. (contributor 47303570) Unknown, who reports a Currently Researching.