Mind control, secret cults, prophecy, and murder all surround the infamous advisor to Czar Nicholas II, Grigori Rasputin. The story of Rasputin’s life and gruesome end is murky, but as time progresses more and more details reveal themselves about the true extent of his influence of the Russian aristocracy.
A humble beginning
Grigori Rasputin was born into meager means in Pokrovskoye, Siberia in 1869. His family were peasants surviving through farming and his father’s employment as a government courier. Surprising to most is that Grigori most likely was illiterate up until his later years. Peasant families often were not formally educated. As he grew, Grigori was no stranger to petty crime and known to be a mischievous young man with a checkered past. Much is unknown about his formative years, which has lead to many rumors about his wrong doings which were seemingly precursors to his blasphemes behavior as an adult in the court of the Czar.
Grigori’s transformation came after he was motivated to go on a spiritual pilgrimage at age 28. The pilgrimage was to St. Nicholas Monastery in Verkhoturye, a roughly 421 mile trip. He studied closely with staret Makary and subsequently learned to read and write. Grigori’s time spent at the monastery lasted several months. After returning home, looking disheveled and unkempt, he was a different man without vices. He traveled as a Strannik, or a “holy wanderer”, for years, gathering a small group of dedicated followers.
While still living at home with his parents even in his later years, Rasputin coopted his family’s basement and converted it to a makeshift church. His acolytes would gather here in prayer, sing unfamiliar strange hymns, and even engaged in sexual acts and orgies. One rumor was that Rasputin has begun following the fringe sect of the Russian Orthodox Church, Khlysty.
Khlysty’s root origin comes from the work “Khlyst” which translated to “whip” in Russian. Khlysts believed that instead of worshipping and communicating with the Holy Spirit through priests and holy texts, people could communicate directly with a higher power. One man and women, physical representations of both “Christ” and the “Mother of God”, lead each Khlysty Ark (or group). Ark’s regularly practiced self flagellation and the attainment of divine grace through sinful means, such as sexual orgies. This group was often persecuted and largely disavowed by church officials.
Later in life Rasputin seemingly continued the practices from this group with his followers and even his wife. Attempting to obtain redemption in the eyes of the Holy Spirit through sin, he was accused by many women of rape and assault.
At one time Rasputin had been caught violently beating his wife while she held on to his manhood, shouting: “I am your ewe, and you are Christ.” It had also been reported that the virgins that he had laid with had locks of their hair cut off. Evidence of hair was found in 1977 when authorities uncovered boxes containing hair in his garden. – Rasputin: Satanic Interpretations Versus Modern Interpretations by Simran Singh
Some of Rasputin’s occult aura may have derived from his abuse of Tantra. Tantra is a sexual energy used to align with the divine which can be misused if combined with desire. If this occurs, a devil resides in the person causing a split personality one of which would harm others. Could this be where he gained his power?
Rise to power
Rasputin’s true infamy and power came through his charisma and influence. In the early 1900s, Grigori Rasputin became well known in monastic circles as a holy man with great powers. This eventually lead to his journey to St Petersburg, during which time he befriended many in the Russian court and aristocracy. This lead him to the Czar in 1905. Rasputin’s influence over the royal family only grew from there. His acted as spiritual guide, healer, and even political advisor to Nicholas II and the Czarina, Alexandra.
One instance that solidified Rasputin’s close bond with the Czarina was the healing of her sick son, Alexei. Alexei was ailed with hemophelia, an affliction which leaves the sufferer with thin blood and the inability for it to clot. In this case, Rasputin was asked to aid in the healing of Alexei after an internal hemorrhage, which could possibly prove fatal. As a known faith healer, Alexandra desperately wrote to Rasputin for guidance.
Rasputin wrote back quickly, telling the Tsarina that “God has seen your tears and heard your prayers. Do not grieve. The Little One will not die. Do not allow the doctors to bother him too much.” – Nicholas and Alexandra: The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty by Robert Massie
Two days later, Alexei made a full recovery, allowing Rasputin full influence over Alexandra.
The slow descent
But the elite in the Russian court soon grew tired of Rasputin. Referred to as “The Mad Monk”, they viewed him as meddling and immoral. He was even subjected to surveillance, revealed in the “staircase notes”, which detail his many debaucherous behaviors with women, drink, and bribery. These were published widely in newspapers which only fueled the opposition against him.
This tension came to a head during the first World War. While Rasputin was staunchly against war, he did advise the Czar that if he did not personally take charge of the troops and their actions Russia would certainly face military defeat. Bolstered by his advisors words, Nicholas overtook control from his generals and went to the front lines with little experience. Rasputin’s advice provide disastrous.
During the Czar’s time away at war, Rasputin saw an opportunity to gain full control over the aristocracy and government. With Alexandra fully dedicated to Rasputin’s cause, his influence grew to it’s fullest potential. He soon was able to appoint handpicked officials which aligned with his views. Because of these actions, respect for the royal family declined. Alexandra, who was of Anglo-German descent, was even accused of being a German spy. Rasputin’s impact on Russia as a whole was earning him many enemies whose goal was to remove him of power.
One of these enemies was Pyotr Stolypin, the prime minister, who actively appealed to the royal family to remove Rasputin from the court. Once, while engaged in a heated argument, he later stated that Rasputin’s “satanic eyes” had quelled the argument. This was one of the many instances of Rasputin being accused of using hypnosis to bend others’ will towards his own. Stolypin was ironically assassinated soon after.
The final act
In turn, multiple assassination attempts were made against Rasputin’s life, however, the fatal encounter would take place in Moika Palace. Moika Palace was the home of Prince Felix Yusupov. Yusupov, the Grand Duke of Pavlovich, and the politician Vladimir Purishkevich. They would all participate in the final attempt.
Rasputin was lured by the prince to his home and ushered into the basement where he was presented with cakes and wine. Yusupov had laced each with potassium cyanide. After eating some of the cakes, Rasputin seemed unaffected. He then drank the wine. Still, no effect. Frustrated and incredulous to this, Yusupov finally took the Duke’s revolver and shot Rasputin square in the chest multiple times. While laying on the floor, the men took his clothes and one of them put them on and drove to Rasputin’s apartment. This was to give the perception that he had travelled home that night after their meeting.
This devil who was dying of poison, who had a bullet in his heart, must have been raised from the dead by the powers of evil. There was something appalling and monstrous in his diabolical refusal to die. – Memoir of Felix Yusupov
Upon returning to Moika Palace, the men returned to the basement to make sure Rasputin was dead. When bending down to take a closer look, Rasputin leapt up and charged the men. He managed to escape upstairs and outside until he was shot in the back and collapsed into a snowbank in the courtyard. He was bundled up, put in the car, and driven to a bridge overlooking the Malaya Nevka river. His body was thrown into the river and later found. His autopsy was rumored to show water in the lungs which could mean he actually died from drowning…not from the numerous attacks against him.
Eerily, Rasputin had previously sent this letter to the Czar shortly before his death.
I write and leave behind me this letter at St. Petersburg. I feel that I shall leave life before January 1st.
I wish to make known to the Russian people, to Papa, to the Russian Mother and to the children, to the land of Russia, what they must understand. If I am killed by common assassins, and especially by my brothers the Russian peasants, you, Tsar of Russia, have nothing to fear, remain on your throne and govern, and you, Russian Tsar, will have nothing to fear for your children, they will reign for hundreds of years in Russia. But if I am murdered by boyars, nobles, and if they shed my blood, their hands will remain soiled with my blood, for twenty-five years they will not wash their hands from my blood. They will leave Russia.
Brothers will kill brothers, and they will kill each other and hate each other, and for twenty-five years there will be no nobles in the country. Tsar of the land of Russia, if you hear the sound of the bell which will tell you that Grigory has been killed, you must know this: if it was your relations who have wrought my death then no one of your family, that is to say, none of your children or relations will remain alive for more than two years. They will be killed by the Russian people…I shall be killed. I am no longer among the living.
Pray, pray, be strong, think of your blessed family.