The Myths and Truths About Grigori Rasputin

Grigori Rasputin
Alamy/Legion Media

More than 104 years have passed since one of the most remarkable assassinations in the Russian Empire – that of Grigori Rasputin. A person whose life remains shrouded in mysteries that might hardly ever be solved.

Rasputin’s life and death are so much discussed that today they are already in the field of mythology, which places him among the exceptional personalities of the Russian Empire – the empire that ceased to exist in the early twentieth century.

But what are the myths that possess his image? Didn’t the poison really kill him and he had to be shot and then drowned? Did he resurrect? Did he have supernatural abilities? Check out some of the most widely spread rumors (because we’ll hardly ever know the truth).

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Rasputin had supernatural powers

Grigori Rasputin was born in a Russian village in Western Siberia. His parents were peasants. During his boyhood, he began to study religion. Then rumor spread among the peasants that he had mystical abilities.

He later married and became the father of several children, but abandoned his family in search of religious peace and enlightenment. He happened to be in St. Petersburg, which was then the center of the highest class in Russia.

Through his connections, he met Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Queen Alexandra Feodorovna, who asked him to help their hemophiliac son and future heir to the throne, Alexei. Rasputin did what many doctors before him had failed to do.

Historians believe that he simply stopped the aspirin, as a result of which hemophilia was controlled. But at that time the action was considered something much bigger and Queen Alexandra took him under her protection and he became one of her most trusted people and a close member of the whole family.

Rasputin was a pervert and a lover of the queen

Stories of Rasputin’s tumultuous sexual life were passed on by word of mouth while he was still alive. His wild sexual habits, brothel visits, and strange preferences were often discussed. However, historical data do not prove any intimacy between him and the queen.

Some biographers believe that he was a member (or at least strongly influenced) of the Khlysty sect, according to whose beliefs such “wrong” behavior brings the soul closer to God. Although the man was indeed a frequent visitor to a number of brothels, most of the rumors were created after the October Revolution in order to tarnish his image.

Rasputin was the backstage ruler of Russia

Only as far as an advisor to the king and queen can be. In fact, his actions in most cases turned out to be unfavorable for the royal family. But after his role in the royal court was confirmed and the trust the queen gave him, rumors that he was a puppet master of the empire began to grow.

On his advice, for example, Tsar Nicholas took control of the army, which made him a target for many and he was forced to begin a war, leaving governance in the hands of his wife. Then, indeed, Rasputin played a major role, almost as much as the queen herself.

Rasputin was a hard man to kill

Rasputin’s influence won him many enemies and a number of kidnappings were organized against him. Two years before his death, a woman disguised as a beggar stabbed him in the abdomen. He lost a lot of blood and barely survived.

On December 30, 1916, a group of high-ranking politicians, led by Prince Felix Yusupov, invited Rasputin to the Count’s home for dinner. After the poisoned meal and heavy drinking, the man showed no signs of being poisoned. It was necessary to shower him with bullets.

Legend has it that, the man survived and therefore had to be drowned in an icy river. However, according to the autopsy results, no traces of poison were found in his body, and in fact, he was shot only once, in the head.

Rasputin’s resurrection

Even after Rasputin’s death, rumors continued. According to the legend, after he was poisoned, shot, and drowned in a river, his body was pulled out of the water by a group of passers-by and he was still alive. Nothing could be further from the truth. After being thrown into the river, his body was found days later.

On March 15, 1917, Tsar Nicholas abdicated the throne due to the events of the February Revolution. The following year, the Bolsheviks executed him, his wife, their four daughters, and a son.

The historical data are indisputable – Rasputin did influence the royal court. But most of the facts were exaggerated for one reason or another. However, even today, the fictional image of this man is stronger than the facts.

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