A Russian Story Waiting to be Told

All of this speculation about what Putin's goals are regarding recent events in Ukraine brings to mind an obscure story I came across a number of years ago when I was reading Robert Massie's fine biography of Peter the Great. It's a story that has remarkable potential, particularly given the speculation that Putin is intent on restoring Russia to its supposed former glory. It's a story that contains not only a great unsolved mystery, but also the basis for a dazzling contemporary plot. Here's the story in a nutshell: Peter the Great was not too fond of his oldest son Alexei. At one point, Alexei and his mistress, Afrosinia, a Finnish woman, were living in exile in Vienna to avoid the endless wrath of Peter. The Tsar eventually ordered his son back to Russia and Alexei obeyed. Afrosinia, who was pregnant, followed shortly thereafter. At some point, some believe it was while she was in Riga en route to Russia, Afrosinia gave birth. Massie drops a footnote in the narrative at this point stating that this child is lost to history. Think of it - if the child was a male then he was potentially the son of the heir, by birth, to the title of Tsar of all the Russias! Setting aside Alexei's trial and how his father felt about him, this obscure and mysterious birth (how Russian is that?) has the potential for not only a great ancient mystery, but an even greater contemporary plot. Still with me? Well, imagine that the child survived. Imagine that he grew up unaware of his lineage and eventually had a family of his own. Imagine further that successive sons and grandsons of that child fathered successive sons and grandsons until here in the 21st century some young man is wandering around Russia who, unknowingly, is the direct male descendent of the first son of Peter the Great! His very existence could be, in the hands of the right novelist or screenwriter, a tremendous threat to any non-imperial government in Russia. Likewise, his very existence, again in the hands of said novelist or screenwriter, could provide zealots determined to restore Russia to her former imperial glory with a direct link to its pre-Soviet past that no one else can claim. Now that's the basis for a great story. And that's why I wrote it. I went with a screenplay instead of a novel. The screenplay's sitting in my computer, and I can see the whole story, from start to finish in my head. With the recent focus on Russia, speculation about further expansion, and claims of recaptured glory, I'm starting to think the chances of seeing the movie made are getting better every day.