On 25 June (7 July) 1882, Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev, the Russian General, the defeater of the Turks and the conqueror of Kokand and Bukhara, died under mysterious circumstances.
On 22 June (4 July) 1882, Skobelev arrived in Moscow. As usual, Skobelev stayed in one of the most expensive hotels, the Dussault. He met with Prince D.D. Obolensky. According to him, the General was out of sorts, did not answer questions, and if he did answer, it was abruptly. Obviously, he was worried about something. On 24 June, Skobelev came to I.S. Aksakov, brought a bundle of some documents and asked to keep them, saying: «I’m afraid they’ll be stolen from me. I’ve been suspicious for some time now».
The next day Skobelev was invited to a dinner given by Baron Rosen in honor of receiving another award. After dinner, Skobelev went to the Anglia Hotel, which was actually a brothel. There lived women of easy virtue, including Charlotte Altenrose, known as Eleanor, Wanda or Rosa. According to some sources, the cocotte came to Russia from Austria-Hungary.
Late at night, Charlotte ran to the janitor and said that an officer had died suddenly in her room. Skobelev was immediately identified at the morgue. The police, trying to avoid a scandal, moved Skobelev’s body from the brothel to the Dussault Hotel.
Despite the fact that the official cause of death was named as heart failure, rumours spread around Skobelev’s death. Almost no one believed in his non-violent death.
There were three versions of Skobelev’s violent death.
- Skobelev was poisoned by Charlotte, because she was a secret German agent. Skobelev’s anti-German sentiments were well-known. He saw a united Germany as a threat to the whole of Europe and proposed to form an alliance against that country. For this purpose, he even went to France. It caused the displeasure of the Emperor Alexander III.
- Skobelev was killed on behalf of the Tsar. Alexander III believed (not without reason, admittedly) that Skobelev despised him and was preparing a coup d’état. No wonder Skobelev’s favourite commander was Napoleon. Many believe that Skobelev aspired to become a Russian Napoleon.
- Skobelev committed suicide, because he feared, apparently not without reason, the disgrace of Alexander III.
In any case, the documents that Skobelev handed over to Aksakov disappeared.
Based on materials from Internet resources
President of the Union of Criminalists and Criminologists
Igor M. Matskevich