“It’s good to know that if I act strangely enough, society will take full responsibility for me.” Ashleigh Brilliant may have subconsciously considered the effect that society has on us all and how wound up we can all get into our lives, our beliefs, and maybe even our visions. Our visions are the most important thing to all of us and one day may get us into the most excellent position or the most hideous position. We always chose to believe what we want to believe no matter what the public tells us. Perhaps they wrapped Grigorii Yefemovich Rasputin up in life and society when he claimed to have a vision of Virgin Mary. At that point he was placed in a most excellent position, but remember we see and chose to believe only what we wish. From that one of the most mysterious and unusual life and death stories ever lived were of GrigoriiYefemovich Rasputin. The greatest events in this man’s life can be found in his early life, the Russian influence he achieved, and the unnatural death that has boggled the minds of many learned scholars.
The early life of any child can be and is most of the time the most influential time of a child’s life. The life of the parent’s is, in that way, important to many. Someone can find passages into the life of the mysterious child. The parents of Grigorii Rasputin are of no exception. They have been apart of their children’s lives. The mother of three, Anne Egorovna, took on the task of keeping together the home. The local custom was for the man to tend to the wheat crop and nothing more, and they did, in fact, follow local custom. The house, however, was not that of a wealthy peasant, having only one story. The father of Rasputin, Efimii or Evimii Andreevich, came to Siberia from Saratov, where he had trouble with the law. He was a carter working for the state, and he had passed out dead drunk by his horse on the way back from a fair, only to find that when he awoke someone had stolen the horse. They imprisoned him for losing state property (the horse). He served his term and moved east to Pokrovskoe. He established there and stopped drinking, won neighbors respect and married Anne.
The two newlyweds bore three children, two boys and one girl, one of which was Rasputin. Grigorii was born on July 10, 1869 in the village of Pokrovskoe. This village can be found in Western Siberia, not far beyond the Ural Mountains, and some sixteen hundred miles from St. Petersburg. The village lies on a river, the Toura, which forms part of the Ob basin. A description of the village says that it was a “wretched boggy place, remote and wild inhabited by dour Siberian rouges, a race capable of anything.” A child growing up in these conditions can turn out in a variety of ways. Rasputin had seen how people treated each other and wanted to know the truth of how this had begun and by what devious path the world had become what it is. He always looked to his Guardian Angel. Astra, was what he called her, deep within himself. It comes as no surprise to find that Rasputin threw wild parties as a child unlike any other peasant behavior, especially for that age. A known source states, “That his comtempories remember him, at age fifteen a drinker of vodka.” He was sexually active and went through women like shoes.
Kartashev describes the young Rasputin as “guileful, insolent, but possessed of a wild excess seeking and expansive temperament.” His mother died and his father went back to drinking and declined in society. However, he was believed to have died a few years later, but he went on living into the next century and died less than a year before his son.
With Rasputin’s mother dead and his father on a rapid decline, he had no where to go. At age sixteen Rasputin became interested in religion and was introduced to the Khlysty sect, a religious group who believed that one must feel a spirit of contribution to be nearest God. They also believed in spiritual purification through massive orgies, which Rasputin was accredited to hold in his St. Petersburg basement. The story of the “mad monk” is also fully fictional for Rasputin was never a monk nor was he mad. He was unable to become a monk because of his marriage at age nineteen and had three to six children, which can still not be agreed upon today. Rasputin’s origin and initial calling are accounted by an unknown storyteller. He explains, “That Astra led him through the outlying lands and in each of the twelve provinces a new part of his soul was purified and balanced. Now a mad man no one understood, he was ready for his final test. She seemed to leave him. He wandered until he found himself far away lost in the dark night. Before him arose the vicious Dragon of all his dishonesty, confusion, and lovelessness, every image by which he had betrayed himself. He saw the truth and said, “I love you and reclaim you and restore you to your proper place.” The Dragon dissipated into its elements and each was sent to its proper place where it would be a jewel.
Astra appeared and told him to go forth, heal, and be known as Rasputin. From that he was known as the “devil incarnate.” Rasputin in Russian also means “debauched one,” which is translated to someone who is lead astray morally or corrupted. As a holy man, not a monk, some would say he did a less than acceptable jobs as he preached that the way to redemption was to give in to sin in reckless abandon and then repeat. While on this journey he was believed to have seen the Virgin Mary and with that gained recognition. His name was known far beyond the Imperial Court of Russia. The influence that Rasputin had over the Russian country as a whole was phenomenal. He first arrived in St. Petersburg between the ages of thirty-three and forty. Russian czar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra have made some secret plans in hopes of saving their hemophiliac son Alexei from death. The Imperial Court later summoned him in 1907. They had called a holy man who had some mysterious healing power who was suggested by two spouses of cousins. The appearance of this holy man was nothing above a common “bum.” He had reached the czarvich’s room unnoticed by any guards, dropped to his knees and began a chant over his body, while at the end fingering a cross over him. He then whispered, “You will be fine come tomorrow,” to Alexei. He had, with that event, placed his life on the line for if the heir died he will also, but the czarvich survived and Rasputin won the love of Alexei and the rest of the royal family.
As the years progressed, Rasputin gained more influence in the royal court. Even as the rumors flew of Rasputin’s social affairs his recognition as a holy man of God grew, even though he neither a monk nor a priest. Rasputin’s rise to political influence was due to his close relationship to the czarina. Rumors soon started that Rasputin was swaying the royal couple into making peace and becoming an ally with Germany. In the spring of 1915, the two close friends, Rasputin and Alexandra, convinced Nicholas II to go and gain direct control over the troops in WWI. The czar was gone and the country was left to the czarina for her doing. That is also when Rasputin had the greatest influence over her. The fact that Alexandra was of German blood did help much with their public opinion polls. There was no doubt that Rasputin gave his advice on government and military affairs freely. His power, however, was much more illusion than reality. All the decisions were approved by Nicholas. Rasputin, in the end, for the Russian people, became a scapegoat of a failed empire. The holy man who saved the czarvich became the target much attack from the Russian public. The women, however, were much more understanding in his ways.
Rasputin was a womanizer and believed that sin and then repentance would bring one closer to God. Rumors swirled that Rasputin has seduced the Empress, the Grand Duchesses, and Anne Vyrubova, a close friend of the Czarina whom Rasputin had miraculously brought out of a coma after a train accident. He gained the name of “lover of the Russian queen,” and retained the title of “Russia’s greatest love machine.” Church officials had no say as to what went on in their own churches. Correspondence between the czar and his wife showed that Rasputin did have influence in appointing Ministers in the Duma but not running the country. Any number of highly respected men in the Russian Orthodox Church fell for Rasputin soon after his appearance at the Imperial Court. Those supporters,
in time, turned on Rasputin and tried to have him ran out of St. Petersburg. Rasputin knew how to deal with those types of “hurdles.” If a monk, or even a Bishop, opposed him, they might find themselves suddenly sent on a remote assignment. Because of his “pull” over the czarina, Rasputin held, Russia in one had and the Imperial Court in the other.
The faithful end to Rasputin was bloody and gruesome, just how he may have wanted it. Now our good friend Rasputin after a good seven years had made himself a few enemies. Rasputin was invited to the palace of twenty-nine year old Felix Yussupov for a midnight dinner in the year of 1916. Two right-wing members of the Duma and a fashionable doctor all took an active role in the murder of Grigorii. First he was lead into a small room and fed poisoned cake and wine. Yes, he was fed cakes and Madeira laced with cyanide for two hours straight. Rasputin seemed to have suspicion, but the poison had no effect upon him. The prince went to check on the party upstairs, in reality asking his allies what to do. He returned with a concealed weapon and directed Grigorii to gaze at a crucifix on the wall, while at the same time shooting him point-blank in the back. The rest ran to the scene and the member doctor pronounced him dead. The conspirators talked of bodily disposal and Grigorii jumped up and ran out of the room heading for the gate. They continued to shoot at him and he was shot in the back once more and then in the head.
Still alive after poison and bullets, he was beaten, tied with chain and tossed into the Neva river to drown. Three days later when the body was removed from the river, it was found that his lungs were filled with water. Rasputin had still been alive while in the water and cause of death was drowning. According to an anonymous source, “Some would say that they had seen Rasputin leaving the city . . . of course none of this could be proven but it adds interesting
spice to the story of a less than priestly priest whose healing powers seemed equaled by his seeming immortality. The part Rasputin played in Russian history has little to do with facts it comes from the tangled mass of hearsay and innuendo in which he was wrapped. It was not so much what Rasputin did but what he was rumored to do that mattered in history. In this respect he was, literally, a legend in his own time. The legend was known to the whole of Russia, the man to very few. Even the manner of his death was legendary, nor do the legends end with his death. Grigorii Yefimovich Rasputin lead one of the unusual and mysterious life and death stories ever lived. The early life, the Russian influence he gained, and the death of this amazing man all contribute to his legend. Many believed Rasputin was mad, but he was not mad he was a man of spiritual healing in an unknown form. Aristotle sums it up best in saying, “There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.”