50 Facts About Rasputin


Rasputin was born to a peasant family in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye in the Tyumensky Uyezd of Tobolsk Governorate.

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Rasputin had a religious conversion experience after taking a pilgrimage to a monastery in 1897.

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Rasputin has been described as a monk or as a, though he held no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Rasputin became a society figure and met Emperor Nicholas and Empress Alexandra in November 1905.

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In late 1906, Rasputin began acting as a healer for the imperial couple's only son, Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia.

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Rasputin was a divisive figure at court, seen by some Russians as a mystic, visionary, and prophet, and by others as a religious charlatan.

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The high point of Rasputin's power was in 1915 when Nicholas II left St Petersburg to oversee Russian armies fighting World War I, increasing both Alexandra and Rasputin's influence.

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Rasputin remains a mysterious and captivating figure in popular culture.

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Rasputin was born a peasant in the small village of Pokrovskoye, along the Tura River in the Tobolsk Governorate in the Russian Empire.

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Rasputin's father, Yefim, was a peasant farmer and church elder who had been born in Pokrovskoye in 1842 and married Rasputin's mother, Anna Parshukova, in 1863.

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Historians agree that like most Siberian peasants, including his mother and father, Rasputin was not formally educated and remained illiterate well into his early adulthood.

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In 1886, Rasputin traveled to Abalak, Russia, some 250 km east-northeast of Tyumen and 2,800 km east of Moscow, where he met a peasant girl named Praskovya Dubrovina.

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In 1897, Rasputin developed a renewed interest in religion and left Pokrovskoye to go on a pilgrimage.

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Rasputin's reasons are unclear; according to some sources, Rasputin left the village to escape punishment for his role in horse theft.

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Whatever his reasons, Rasputin cast off his old life: he was twenty-eight, married ten years, with an infant son and another child on the way.

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Rasputin had undertaken earlier, shorter pilgrimages to the Holy Znamensky Monastery at Abalak and to Tobolsk's cathedral, but his visit to the St Nicholas Monastery at Verkhoturye in 1897 transformed him.

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Rasputin returned to Pokrovskoye a changed man, looking disheveled and behaving differently.

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Rasputin became a vegetarian, swore off alcohol, and prayed and sang much more fervently than he had in the past.

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Rasputin spent the years that followed as a strannik, leaving Pokrovskoye for months or even years at a time to wander the country and visit a variety of holy sites.

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Historian Douglas Smith argues that it is impossible to know whether Rasputin stayed in St Petersburg or returned to Pokrovskoye at some point between his first arrival and 1905.

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Regardless, by 1905 Rasputin had formed friendships with several members of the aristocracy, including the "Black Princesses", Militsa and Anastasia of Montenegro, who had married the tsar's cousins, and were instrumental in introducing Rasputin to the tsar and his family.

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Rasputin first met the tsar on 1 November 1905, at the Peterhof Palace.

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Rasputin returned to Pokrovskoye shortly after their first meeting and did not return to St Petersburg until July 1906.

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On his return, Rasputin sent Nicholas a telegram asking to present the tsar with an icon of Simeon of Verkhoturye.

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Harold Shukman wrote that Rasputin became "an indispensable member of the royal entourage".

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Rasputin may have been aware of Alexei's condition as early as October 1906, and was summoned by Alexandra to pray for Alexei when he had an internal hemorrhage in the spring of 1907.

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Rasputin had been rumored to be capable of faith-healing since his arrival in St Petersburg, and the tsarina's friend Anna Vyrubova became convinced that Rasputin had miraculous powers shortly thereafter.

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In November 1906 Rasputin suddenly paid a visit to the Baratynsky family in Kazan and told them he could read people's mind.

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Olga Ilyin's description of Rasputin and his behavior in "Visits to the Imperial Court" is a small but no doubt valuable contribution to history.

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At the very beginning of dinner, when Nastya was about to put a plate of soup in front of Rasputin, he wanted to get out a comb, and he began to run it through his oily hair.

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Alexandra believed that Rasputin had performed a miracle, and concluded that he was essential to Alexei's survival.

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Some writers and historians, such as Ferro, claim that Rasputin stopped Alexei's bleeding on other occasions through hypnosis.

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Some historians, including memoirist Pierre Gilliard, Alexei's French-language tutor, have speculated that Rasputin controlled Alexei's bleeding by disallowing the administration of aspirin, then widely used to relieve pain, but unknown as an anti-clotting agent until the 1950s.

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One of the girls' governesses, Sofia Ivanovna Tyutcheva, was horrified in 1910 because Rasputin was permitted access to the nursery when the four girls were in their nightgowns.

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Rasputin had released ardent letters written to him by the Tsarina and the four grand duchesses.

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Nicholas ordered Rasputin to leave St Petersburg for a time, much to Alexandra's displeasure, and Rasputin went on a pilgrimage to Palestine.

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Rasputin was buried with an icon signed on its reverse side by the grand duchesses and their mother.

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In St Petersburg, Rasputin faced opposition from even more prominent critics, including prime minister Peter Stolypin and the Okhrana, the Tsar's secret police.

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Rasputin went to Theofan for aid, and the incident helped to convince Theofan that Rasputin was a danger to the monarchy.

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Rumors multiplied that Rasputin had assaulted female followers and behaved inappropriately on visits to the Imperial Family – and particularly with the Tsar's teenage daughters Olga and Tatyana, rumors reported widely in the press after March 1910.

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Rasputin was seriously wounded, and for a time it was not clear if he would survive.

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Rasputin died of three gunshot wounds, one of which was a close-range shot to his forehead.

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Rasputin initially refused the cakes but then began to eat them and, to Yusupov's surprise, appeared unaffected by the poison.

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Rasputin then asked for some Madeira wine and drank three glasses, but still showed no sign of distress.

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Rasputin took a revolver from Dmitry Pavlovich, then returned to the basement and told Rasputin that he'd "better look at the crucifix and say a prayer", referring to a crucifix in the room, then shot him once in the chest.

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Suddenly, Rasputin leaped up and attacked Yusupov, who freed himself with some effort and fled upstairs.

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Rasputin followed Yusupov into the palace's courtyard, where he was shot by Purishkevich.

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News of Rasputin's murder spread quickly, even before his body was found.

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Kosorotov's report was lost, but he later stated that Rasputin's body had shown signs of severe trauma, including three gunshot wounds, a slice wound to his left side, and many other injuries, many of which Kosorotov felt had been sustained post-mortem.

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Some later accounts claimed that Rasputin's penis had been severed, but Kosorotov found his genitals intact.

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