Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was one of the most controversial figures in Russian history. From his arrival at the Russian court through to the incredible night of his death, the mystical ‘monk’ was one of the pivotal figures in the fall of the Russian Royal Family. Here are a few key Rasputin facts.
Rasputin was illiterate
In his early days, Rasputin had a very sparse education. He left school at the age of eight and was unable to read or write. He was born in the tiny Siberian village of Pokrovskoye in 1869 and after turning his back on a traditional education, he found himself at the Verkhoture Monastery.
Rasputin wasn’t a monk
Not in the literal sense of the word anyway. Although he attended the Verkhoture Monastery, he left and had returned to his home village by the age of 19. He certainly hadn’t completed his training by this time.
Although he was generally known as ‘The Monk’ during his lifetime and certainly as ‘The Mad Monk’ after his death, it is likely that he was a self-acclaimed ‘monk’, but on what basis Rasputin made this assertion is unclear.
His Healing Powers
While documentary evidence of his so-called healing powers is a little scant, many people believed that he possessed mystical skill in healing the sick and the lame.
His most famous act of healing introduced him to the Russian court when he supposedly cured the Tsar and Tsarina’s haemophiliac son Alexis. After a heavy bought of bleeding, Rasputin was called to Alexis’ side and he managed to stem the flow – an act that saw him welcomed into the Russian court and that in turn would change history.
Under Rasputin’s spell
During the First World War, the Tsar followed a rather romantic notion that he should lead his own troops into battle and as such, he was away from the royal palace.
It was here that Rasputin began to exert his influence over the Tsarina. Whether it was hypnosis or some other mystical attraction, the ‘monk’ began to have his say in decisions of court including the removal of certain ministers. These actions would eventually lead to his downfall.
He predicted his own death
In a chilling prophecy, Rasputin predicted that he would soon be killed but that he was unclear as to who would commit the act. His words are certainly worth repeating,
“I am to be killed, “he told the Royal Court “If I am killed by my own people, by the peasants, then you will continue to rule in peace and harmony. However, if I am killed by the noble class, then within two years, you and your children and all the royal family will be no more.”
He ‘refused to die’
The circumstances of Rasputin’s death are just as remarkable as his life and although some of the ‘facts’ may be shrouded in myth, it is certain that he took an incredible amount of time to die.
On December 16th 1916, a group of nobles led by Felix Yusupov lured him into their company. It was said that he ingested enough poison to kill five men but showed no ill effects whatsoever. Eventually, after being shot and badly beaten, his body was dragged from the Neva River the next day. In a very short space of time, the prophecy of his own death was to come true as the Russian revolution swept aside the Russian monarchy.
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