Boris Skossyreff

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Borís I d'Andorra
Borís Skósyrev.jpg
King Boris I of Andorra 1934
Born Borís Mikhàilovitx Skóssirev-Mavrusov
January 12, 1896
Vilnius, Russian Empire
Died November 18, 1989
Boppard, Germany
Cause of death Died as a Prisoner
Occupation Soldier, Official Monarch, King and Diplomat
Spouse(s) Maria Lluïsa Parat (1931-?)
Parent(s) Micheal Skossyreff and Elisabeth Mawrusow

Boris Skossyreff (January 12, 1896, Vilnius – 1989,[citation needed] Boppard) was an adventurer of noble Russian background who attempted to seize power in the European state of Andorra during the early 1930s.[citation needed]

In January 1919, described as a former translator for the Japanese Military Mission, he appeared in Westminster Police Court in London charged with passing fraudulent cheques; according to The Times, the money was paid in full.

"King of Andorra"[edit]

In December,1933, Skossyreff obtained Andorran citizenship, and after some time he presented a plan for administrative reform involving the creation of several offices to which he asked to be appointed. He quickly got into trouble, however, and was expelled around May 1934.[citation needed]

On July 6, 1934, he issued a proclamation in Urgell, Spain, declaring himself Boris I, King of Andorra and "Regent for His Majesty the King of France", (but the family heads of the House of Bourbon disavowed him). He declared war on the Bishop of Urgell, Justí Guitart i Vilardebó, the Co-Prince of Andorra. Two days later, the General Council of Andorra voted unanimously for the monarchy, and a provisional government was formed the next day. The General Council became the Parliament, a new flag adorned with a crown was adopted, and a new constitution was drafted.

After a week of reign, there was a coup[citation needed]. On July 20 Skossyreff was arrested by Spanish Guardia Civil and taken out of Andorra, first to Barcelona and then on July 23 to Madrid, where he was imprisoned until he was deported from Spain in November.[citation needed]

Spanish authorities who held him in custody noted that he carried a Dutch passport, which indicated his date of birth as June 12, 1896. He declared himself to be a White émigré, born in Vilnius (in 1896 part of Russian Empire but now the capital of Lithuania).[citation needed]

That account was somewhat contradicted by the publication "Spain Week by Week", which reported on 25 July 1934 that Skossyreff was a 38-year-old Jew, who had been resident "for some years" in Catalonia and Majorca.[1] That account claimed that Skossyreff had made his proclamation on July 11, not a day later, and had declared himself "Boris I, Prince of the Valleys of Andorra, Count of Orange and Baron of Skossyreff… sovereign of Andorra and defender of the faith".

After pledging his allegiance to the King of France (a purely theoretical allegiance, since France has had no king since 1848), he had deposed the General Council, appointed a provisional government, written a constitution, and issued a Court Circular before he was taken to Spain and then deported to Portugal.

Some sources[specify] claim he died in 1944 while imprisoned in a camp near Perpignan by the Vichy French regime during World War II. However, others claim he survived and became a "special officer" (Sonderführer, a civilian technician working with the Army) on the Eastern Front.[citation needed]


In some Russian-language publications and websites, there are somewhat legendary stories reported as fact, notably claiming that he ruled Andorra for a number of years until 1941, when he was overthrown by Vichy France.[2]

This version is not supported by accounts in other languages.[verification needed]

A novel, entitled Boris I, rei d'Andorra (Boris I, King of Andorra) was written in 1984 by Catalan author Antoni Morell i Mora.[3] The author dedicated the book to his grandmother, who he claimed had personally met Boris. It was later adapted for the stage by Beth Escuda.[4]


  1. ^ "'Spain week by week". Bulletin of Spanish Studies. 11 (44): 209–216. 1934. doi:10.1080/14753825012331364384. 
  2. ^ This legendary account is developed in Russian here, and refuted (again in Russian) here
  3. ^ Morell, Antoni (1984). Borís I, Rei D'andorra. La Magrana. ISBN 84-7410-157-3. 
  4. ^ Official website of the play[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]