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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New 'Romanov' Claims Scepter

A man identifying himself as Grand Duke Nicholas injected some color into Russia's dead-serious presidential race Wednesday by claiming to be the hitherto unknown grandson of Russia's last tsar.


Not only that, he insisted, but Alexei -- the only son of Nicholas II and his own father -- miraculously escaped the Bolshevik firing squad in 1918 and lived until 1965 in a quiet town on the Volga.


Dressed in a black naval uniform adorned with Soviet-era stars and imperial crowns, Nicholas entered a news conference at Moscow's Russian Academy of Sciences to the strains of the tsarist anthem. Journalists were ordered to stand and to address him as "Your Imperial Highness."


The obscure 53-year-old called himself a man of science. But he would not elaborate on his studies, and the academy did not explain why it granted him the podium.


Nicholas said the proof for his "irrefutable" claims was in "a bank safe in a neutral country."


Like his famous father, he said, he suffered from hemophilia himself, having trouble with his left leg until he "somehow got well" when he turned 40. Calling for the restoration of the monarchy, Nicholas said he probably would run for president in June. It wasn't clear how he planned to gather the million signatures required.


The tsar's family was murdered in captivity by the Bolsheviks in July 1918. The remains of Alexei and his sister Anastasia have never been found, leading to ungrounded speculation that they escaped and inspiring numerous royal claimants.