Princess Tarakanova

In the seventies of XVIII-th century in one of gloomy casemates of the Peter and Paul Fortress the daughter of empress Elizabeth Petrovna from secret marriage with the field marshal count Alexey Razumovsky - duchesse Tarakanova confidentially contained.

The pretender to Russian throne by treachery and a deceit has been brought from Italy to Russia by count Alexey Orlov.

On September, 10th, 1777 during one of the Petersburg flooding she was lost in her stone imprisonment, flooded with waters of the raged Neva.

The surprising destiny has been prepared to this legend. Shrouded in a fog of the unsolved secret, fanned by romantic guesses, each of which applied for true, it passed from generation to generation.

Almost in hundred years after the event stated in it, there was a picture of P.Flavitsky's representing death of duchesse Tarakanova during the flooding.

On time it has coincided with relative liberalisation of the Russian society. The reading Russia watched interestedly, how all new both new facts and the fictions which have laid down in a basis of a legend emerged from a non-existence in the press.

It became known that once in Paris there was really the young beautiful adventurer who has declared herself by the daughter of Elizabeth Petrovna and, hence, by the heiress-at-law of Russian throne.

Supported by the political forces hostile to Russia, this young lady became dangerous for the Russian throne. By the instructions of Catherine II count Alexey Orlov has carried away the young woman, and then by means of oaths and promises has enticed her into Russia and ... has handed over to the authorities.

In reality, severely deceived Tarakanova (by then also the pregnant from Orlov) grounded in the Peter and Paul Fortress and driven to despair by constant interrogations, inhuman conditions and consciousness of a hopelessness of position, has got a consumption and has died two years prior to known flooding.

Source: Three centuries of St.Petersburg: Encyclopaedia