Very few names in the 20th century invoke as much revulsion as the name Rasputin.
The only thing positive that can be said about him is that he is dead.
Not too much is known about the boy who was born Gregory Efimovich Novykhn. His birth date is either 1869 or 1872 – depending upon who you listen to. Born to peasant stock in Siberia, he quickly found he had this knack for getting into trouble with authorities.
Rasputin was the type of boy every girl’s father had nightmares about. Just the thought of having ‘that’ for a son in law would make the sturdiest of men cringe.
By the age of 15, Rasputin found he liked girls, and he liked girls allot. A kid armed with the libido of a bull rabbit on steroids with a mixture of Viagra earned him a rather dubious reputation. He also discovered Vodka at the age of 15 which he liked equally as well as he liked getting into trouble and equally as well as he liked young women.
His debauchery earned him the nick name of “the rake”. Not a kind expression in the Russian language.
His last name was changed to Rasputin, which means in Russian 'debauched one'. A fairly accurate description by anyone’s account. There are oral traditions that say that even though Rasputin was a seedy character, he seemed to have a Svengali like hold over animals, and legend also states he walked up to one of his parent’s friends and denounced the man as a horse thief. The next day, the horse was found in the ‘victims’ barn yard. But like all legends, nothing can be established.
At the age of 18, Rasputin under went a religious transformation of sorts. He decided that it was God’s will that he should study religion. He was supposed to have been introduced to the Khlysty sect – they preached that one could attain forgiveness only if one immersed them self in sin. They also preached that a person could only be close to God after numerous and heavy sexual encounters. Rasputin grabbed onto this doctrine as if it were his personal holy grail, and he started practicing this faith with full vigor.
At age 19 he met, and married, a young girl. Even less is known about her. Rasputin’s bride, Proskovia Fyodorovna, fell into married life and she bore Rasputin four children. Family life did not suit Rasputin’s wandering eye and his spirit for spreading the Khlysty gospel. He walked out on his wife and children.
His journey took him to both Greece and Jerusalem – for what ever reason, he earned a reputation of being a ‘holy man’. A far cry from the Rasputin everyone knew back home in Siberia. He also study fringe subjects such as mysticism and incorporated that into his already skewed religious views.
Allegedly Rasputin had gained the attention of Aleister Crowley. Crowley who would be later called “The Beast” was a mad man, the type of person who would make the Marquee De Sade look like a Red Cross volunteer.
It is not know who was the master and who was the student in the Rasputin/Crowley combination, but there are heavy suggestions that these two men had several love affairs with each other – after all, they were from the same mold.
Rasputin lacked the educational background and had dropped his studies, but he found he was also a consummate actor. A charlatan at heart and playing a holy man went well for Rasputin. Somehow, ecumenical flim-flam people seem to get an inordinate amount of attention, and publicity.
In 1904, an heir to the Romanov throne was born, Tsarevich Alexi Romanov. The Tsar and Tsarina’s hopes were brutally slammed to the ground when it was discovered that Alexi had hemophilia. A recessive gene from Queen Victoria (The Tsarina was Victoria’s grand daughter) was the cause of Alexi’s hemophilia.
From the Romanov point of view, this was a total disaster as Alexi would never reach the age to assume the throne – people with hemophilia did not live long. Plus, this was their son – the parents were heart broken. At all costs, no matter what they might be, the news had to be kept from the Russian population.
Sometime around 1905, Rasputin found himself on the streets of St. Petersburg. He had a reputation as a ‘Holy Man’; he had a following because he seemed like the genuine thing, and who could ask for more?
Also in Rasputin’s favor was that the church leaders were looking for the type of person who could hold sway over the high society and the peasants. Someone who would lead everyone back to the embrace and sway of the church.
Rasputin was the candidate. He came from peasant stock – this was a good thing as Rasputin could speak the language of the peasants. The church leaders needed a person who could capture the imaginations, hearts, and pocket books of high society through mystical gibberish, and an occasional ‘miracle’. Rasputin’s talent for acting got him the job.
It did not take long before the religion of Rasputin was the fashion statement in St. Petersburg. The monk had tripped into a gigolo’s paradise. Women gravitated to him and not having an affair with Rasputin put one on the outside looking in.
There were those though who took a different view of Rasputin. They saw him for what he was, a bottom feeding, slithering, piece of dung.
Rasputin didn’t like bathing and you could smell him coming three days before his arrival. He ate with his fingers and you’d be able to tell what he had eaten that week just by looking at his beard. His abusive enjoyment of Vodka became the thing of legends. All in all, a pretty swarthy person.
Now enters Anya Vyrubova, a close friend of the Tsarina. Anya was riding a train that derailed. She was in pretty rough shape and in a coma. The doctors had resigned themselves to the very real possibility that Anya would not survive.
Our mad monk, who was always at the right place, at the right time, made his way to Anya’s bedside. Rasputin took Anya’s hand and he kept calling her name and telling her to awake. The doctors shrugged their shoulders and walked away. Rasputin continued his vigil for several hours, and Anya awoke. The doctors were shocked, and Rasputin drenched in sweat went into a side room and collapsed into a chair – that nice added touch of melodramatics.
The doctors declared this to be a miracle, Rasputin declared he wanted Vodka, and Anya declared she wanted something for her headache.
Comas are still not understood, even by today’s standards. A person can come out of a coma within hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. Some people never recover. It is one of those who knows type thing. Rasputin just got lucky, that is all. The church leaders had their miracle man, and they were very pleased. St. Petersburg was abuzz with this god send of a holy man.
The religion of Rasputin stated that one had to immerse one self into sin so that one could find forgiveness and in the prudish and repressed Victorian values, this was every woman’s dream come true. Soon Rasputin’s social calendar was full by women wanting to feel the hand of God touching their soul via Rasputin’s staying power and her crotch. Never before, in high society, had there been such a fool’s paradise. Rasputin had charm and a sense of humor – in layman’s language, he was a ladies man.
Anya, meanwhile, was praising the healing powers of Rasputin to the Tsarina. The Tsarina, a loving mother, kept this in the back of her mind because of Alexi’s Hemophilia. A child stricken with Hemophilia suffers from bleeding that does not stop as quickly as people who are not stricken. Usually, the hemorrhages involve muscles and joints with painful swelling or a lack of movement of an arm or leg. The good news is that most hemorrhages will stop, unless the injury is so great that the person wouldn’t stand a chance anyhow. The pain though is agonizing and for a parent to watch their child suffering is gut wrenching.
The Church leaders informed the Tsar, the official head of the Orthodox Church, about this mysterious monk who had brought Anya back to the world of the living. They boasted of his claims of being a prophet. The Tsar tucked this in the back of his mind because of the suffering of his son.
In October 1912, Alexi sustained an injury and he’s hemophilia was out of control. He laid painfully for a week and a half. The Tsarina acted and she sent a telegram to Rasputin explaining the situation in hopes that Rasputin could intervene. Rasputin was supposed to have telegrammed back and said the child would not die and his bleeding would stop.
Legend has it, when Rasputin’s telegram arrived at the palace, Alexei’s bleeding stopped. There can be a number of explanations for this – timing being one, and the telegram ended the Tsarina’s hysteria and that cause Alexi to start relaxing to the point where his blood pressure lowered and his little body had a chance to start damage control. Regardless, the Tsarina was now convinced that Rasputin had saved her son.
Doctors knew little about Hemophilia and if they had, Alexei’s miracle recovery would have been no mystery at all. Usually, in about 5 to 10 days, the body will start the recovery process very quickly, the bleeding stops, and the patient is back to normal.
Rasputin soon became a fixture in the royal palace, much to Nicolas’s chagrin. Rasputin, Russia, and the royal family were now on the highway to hell.
The mad monk not only gained the full attention of high society, but he also gained the attention of the police. His apparent free access to the palace, his actions and probably a number of angry husbands all added up to one thing – the monk had something up his sleeve and needs looking into.
Rasputin enjoyed the night life, and his alcohol. He embarrassed himself on more than one occasion, and there is a story that one night he got so drunk that he got up on a table, dropped his pants, and exposed himself. Dancing around, he was supposed to have said he did this for the Tsarina all the time. Hmmm. The rumor mill cranked out gossipy tidbits as if there were no tomorrow.
People started believing that the mad monk had effervesced a Svengali like hold on the royal family, and the silence from the throne made matters worse. Never mind that Rasputin enjoyed the celebrity status this reputation gave him.
Rasputin set up shop and his days consisted of a leisurely breakfast. Between 10 am to 1 pm, he had calling hours, open to any St. Petersburg citizen. Later in the afternoon, he called at the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, the family's favorite residence, for the family's news. He became a rather busy man administering to the needs of women whose soul he wanted to save in his version of redemption.
The police tried to tell Nicolas that the mad monk was a con artist, a lush and seedy person not to be trusted. Nicolas and other parts of the royal family had absolute disdain for Rasputin, and Nicolas was growing increasingly annoyed with Rasputin’s continual presence around the royal house. The major stumbling block was the Tsarina – she was fully convinced Alexi’s only hope was squarely in the squalor of Rasputin. The Tsar, a loving father and husband, was torn between putting Rasputin away and the pleadings of his wife. Love for his family went against Nicolas’s better judgment and Rasputin stayed.
World War One gripped all of Europe, and the Russian Army had taken one brutal beating after another. In September 1915, the Tsar took over as commander in chief of the Russian military and he left for the front hoping to lead the army to victory. This left Rasputin hovering over the royal family like a bad smell.
The Tsarina listened to Rasputin and his advice about how to conduct the affairs of a nation. Rasputin also used his influence to take revenge on the church leaders who were also becoming very, very, concerned about the mad monk.
The Tsarina was from Austria – one of Russia’s adversaries in the war. This raised suspicions as the Tsarina never really professed her love and loyalty to Russia. Rumors of treachery started circulating. Rasputin’s presence at the royal household was viewed with equal malice and people started talking that there was more to the relationship between Rasputin and the Tsarina than met the eye. Rasputin, in his public drinking binges, broadcast that he controlled the throne and the matters of state.- things started getting ugly, in no uncertain terms. People were a gasp at the thought of the Tsar bravely fighting at the front and behind his back the Tsarina found comfort in the arms, and bed, of another man.
The people believed Rasputin had heaved the Tsarina in his shadowy nether world, and she allowed her daughters to be lured into the snare only to be defiled and the flower of their pureness forever stolen by the ‘mad monk’. The mere thought of the Tsarina betraying her marriage vows, and the virginal daughters thrown into unholy depravity, was too much to stomach.
News of the staggering losses at the front at the hands of Germany and Austria was being thrown at the people daily via the press. The press published several letters supposedly penned by the Tsarina to Rasputin that painted a picture of intrigue and a fatal stab at the very word Tsarina. Nicolas’s refusal to meet with his people in 1905 came back in full vengeance. All of this provided Lenin with fodder for his venomous spoken and written outrage. Nicolas’s return from the front threw him and his family into the epicenter of the maelstrom of a raging sea of emotions and anger by a people who felt betrayed by the very woman they called Tsarina.
It is ‘she’ who has done all this bad to Russia they cried. There was no food and starvation gripped the land because of ‘she’. The ugly and certain death of the Russian army was because ‘she’ was first an Austrian and now a traitor to the very land she helped rule over. Russia was scarred and it was ‘she’ who was responsible.
From the people’s lips also came the name Rasputin. It was ‘he’ who had lead the royal family to ruin. It was ‘he’, like the serpent from the Garden of Eden, which had bewitched the Tsarina. If was ‘he’ who had violated the purity of the royal daughters. It was ‘he’ who worked his dark arts to blind a Tsar from the misery of his people. It was ‘he’ who stained, in blood and unholy beings, the throne of Russia.
The German high command had found a willing ally in Rasputin and surrounded him with spies to protect him. Germany could undermine Russia from within very effectively and so they did. Lenin had also been a German secret weapon for he too could dishevel a nation in turmoil and Germany made sure Lenin had a great deal of funding.
Germany’s plan worked.
Prince Felix Yussupov was closer to the pulse of the people than the Tsar had ever been. He and several other members of the royal family decided it was high time to rid Russia of the mad monk who had blackened and infected everything. They decided to kill Rasputin.
The plans were made – Rasputin would be invited the home of Yussupov, and there they would bring an end to ‘it’ once and for all. They made no secret of their plan either – probably in hopes of holding at bay the fire storm brewing or at least to give the people hope that an end was close at hand.
The means was chosen – deadly cyanide. They would invite Rasputin to spend the evening, feed him cyanide laced pastries and wine, and then dispose of the body.
On December 16, 1916, Rasputin accepted the invitation of Prince Yussupov to come and spend time. Rasputin was told that the Prince’s wife had wanted to meet Rasputin. Rasputin showed up at the door, and he was led to a basement room, designed for entertaining, and given poisoned wine, and was invited to enjoy the poisoned pastries. The conspirators told Rasputin that the Prince’s wife would be down shortly. They left Rasputin alone.
Stories conflict as to whether Rasputin ate any of the pastries, but he surely enjoyed the poisoned wine – as he enjoyed alcohol no matter what form. After some time had passed, the conspirators returned to the room and saw what they believed was a dead monk. Rasputin showed no signs of life. Checking to see if they were finally rid of Rasputin, they decided to shake him. When they did, Rasputin came back to life. Yussupov was so startled he panicked. Someone produced a gun and shot the monk at point blank range. Rasputin stumbled up the steps and out onto the yard screaming that he was going to tell the Tsarina everything.
In the yard, Rasputin took two more bullets and went down. The conspirators began savagely beating the body with anything they could get their hands on. Confident he was dead; they tied the body up, drove to the Neva River, and threw Rasputin in the icy waters.
The effort, no matter how noble, was too late. The irreparable damage had been done. Russia was imploding in on itself.
Rasputin’s evil pallor cannot be understated in any sense of the word. He was the spawn of everything the very gates of hell could conceive of. His name is reviled and despised; the very memory of him should bring a shudder from the lips of anyone mentioning his name.
Sometime during the revolution, his body was exhumed and burned until there was nothing left of this satanic incarnate.
Jen Psaki may have errors in her statements not because of her level of education or bad memory.