Tsar and Pretender: Samozvanchestvo or Royal Imposture in Russia as a Cultural-Historical Phenomenon
The psychology of royal imposture in Russia is directly connected with the question of the attitude to the Tsar, i. e. the special way in which royal power was understood. Pretenders made their appearance in Russia only after there were Tsars, and this is connected with the sacralization of the Tsar. The notion that the royal power was established by God accounts for the distinction (actual in Russia) between "righteous" and "unrighteous" Tsars. Hence the most striking pretenders crop up precisely at those moments when the natural order of succession has been broken and when the actual occupier of the throne could in fact be regarded as a pretender.