This guy, he was the Terminator of Imperial Russia. Nobody could actually kill him. Because he became so difficult to pop off, it only reinforced all these grotesque stories that he was the devil’s acolyte. Maybe he was. He definitely looked it. Walk down the street with this face, and convince people that you aren’t demented.
No, I don’t think it would work. Rasputin was a character who could only exist in Russia. He’s is certainly historical evidence that Russians will believe anything. Rasputin was a real snake in the grass, this mad monk who managed to do what no body else could: manage the tsarevich’s delibilitating hemophilia, and in doing so, ensure the Russian succession. It wasn’t that Rapustin had magical, mystical powers or anything. He simply had a calming effect on the boy. While most people would have become hysterical, Rasputin was the opposite. He won the tsarina’s trust and favour, as well as the emnity of the Russian nobility.
Not the first thing I'd want to see in the morning
Alexandra was not a woman of any great sophistication or political insight. She was a housewife queen of average intelligence, one of the many granddaughters of Queen Victoria. She was dogged and could hold her own, having turned down many decent marriage proposals for Nicholas, the man she loved. For her, the obscure daughter of an obscure German duchy, Russia or not Russia meant little to her. Her family played nations like other families played checkers. Alexandra’s greatest happiness derived from her beloved husband and from bringing up her close, tight-knit family, consisting of four daughters, and her precious son and heir, Alexey, who had inherited his hemophilia from the Grand Old Empress of India herself
Rasputin was a poisoned mushroom. Born into a peasant family in Siberia, he underwent a religious transformation in his teens and become an itinerant, religious zealot, the “Mad Monk” (though he wasn’t a monk at all, and was actually married with children). Rasputin’s form of Christian religion, whatever it was, was not supported or endorsed by the Russian Orthodox Church. His ideas were his own. He became attracted to the Khlysty sect (Хлысты), a breakaway sect from Orthodoxy which rejected the priesthood, practiced ascetism and participated in ecstatic rituals. Rasputin was not actually a member of this sect. It’s hard to imagine that any sort of organized religion could contain as wild and destructive a figure as Rasputin. His crudeness, lack of personal hygiene and debauchery became legendary all over Russia
So unpopular he was, and so suspiciously woven into the fabric of the Russian Imperial family, that a bunch of Russian aristocrats finally conspired to do him in for good. So, on December 29, 1916 (December 16 under the Old System) a bunch of guys, most of whom were members of the Imperial Family decided to assassinate him. One was Prince Felix Yusupov, married to the tsar’s niece, popular, sexy and handsome and rumoured to have some peculiar sexual fetishes of his own. The second was Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich, who was Yusupov’s friend, the tsar’s cousin and had once been engaged to the tsar’s daughter. The third was Vladimir Purishkevich, a anti-Rapustin member of the Duma, the Russian Parliament. The fourth was Lieutenant Sukhotin and the fifth was Dr. Lazavert, a friend of and physician to Purishkevich. They thought, surely with their ingenuity and force of numbers, that they should be able to get rid of that crafty Rasputin once and for all. It turns out that it was Rasputin who would give them a run for their money.
They first thought that they should poison him with cyanide, quick, painless and easy to administer. The good Doctor Lazavert “put on rubber gloves and ground the cyanide of potassium crystals to powder. Then, lifting the top of each cake, he sprinkled the inside with a dose of poison, which, according to him, was sufficient to kill several men instantly” (According to Yusupov’s 1953 memoirs). The gang was deeply impressed with itself. They even thought it prudent to poison the wine Rasputin drank as well as the cakes. However, after nearly an hour of eating and drinking the “merry” Rasputin was just as alive as he was when he crossed the threshold. Yusupov said, “we were seized with an insane dread that this man was inviolable, that he was superhuman, that he couldn’t be killed. It was a frightful sensation. He glared at us with his black, black eyes as though he read our minds and would fool us”
Alarmed and growing impatient, one of the party (most agree it is Yusupov) came down and shot Rapustin in the chest. Having never murdered a man in their own living room before, the group dispersed to allow the Mad Monk to die alone. But then Lazavert adds “suddenly, we heard a strange and unearthly sound behind the huge door that led into the library. The door was slowly pushed open, and there was Rasputin on his hands and knees, the bloody froth gushing from his mouth, his terrible eyes bulging from their sockets. With an amazing strength he sprang toward the door that led into the gardens”. Maybe everyone was right. Maybe he actually was the Devil. A mere mortal man would have been dead several times over.
Rasputin then collapses outside, suffers from death spasms, and finally Lazavert declares that the old Devil is finally dead. They bundle up the body in an old sheet and stuff it into Lazavert’s car, who drove deliberately slowly so as now to arouse police attention. They took the body and threw it into the Neva River. The next day, ice had formed overtop of it and it was only discovered two days later when a policeman walking across the ice noticed a fur coat caught beneath it. They cut open the ice and voila –Rasputin — dead as a doornail.
Interesting factoid: Rasputin’s daughter Maria married a conman who fancied himself Rasputin’s successor. They escaped to Bucharest where she worked as a cabaret dancer and later as an animal tamer, but her career came to an abrupt end when she was mauled by a lion in Peru. Her husband died and she emigrated to the US where she claimed to be psychic and that Betty Ford visited her in a dream. She has always defended her father and called him a “simple man” with a “great heart”.