A Brief History
On December 29, 1916, possibly the most cracked clergyman of all time finally met his doom, having been poisoned, shot, and drowned, thereby rivaling Blackbeard for the claim of bearded bad-ass who most went out “like a boss”!
Digging deeper, we find the last royal court of Russia in the middle of turbulent times indeed, tangled in the morass of the First World War (or, at the time, The Great War) and the country on the brink of revolution.
In addition to the horrible political situation, the royal family (Romanov) of Czar Nicholas II had its own problems, especially with hemophilia plaguing the heir to the throne. With the czar (or tsar) occupied with affairs of state, along came a strange holy man to advise and comfort the royal family, especially Czarina Alexandra.
Not an actual monk, although usually referred to as one, Grigori Rasputin was some sort of charismatic religious groupie who traveled all over Russia, city to city and monastery to monastery, engaging in a weird combination of faith healing, fortune telling and quasi-religious activity.
Finding a place at the czarina’s side Rasputin mysteriously “healed” the young hemophiliac Prince (czarevich) Alexei when no one else could stop his bleeding. Having performed this “miracle”, he became close to the Romanovs and had great influence over the czarina who in turn passed along his advice to the czar.
The Russian public, already in a revolutionary mood before the war and now boiling with dissatisfaction at the royal family, was also upset that the Romanovs would have anything to do with Rasputin, who they viewed as somewhat of a goof and a charlatan (probably right!) and Rasputin’s drinking and whoring around did not help the sordid appearances. Some even believed the czarina had taken him as a lover!
Even before the situation began crumbling there were those that wanted to kill Rasputin. In 1914, a nose-less religious fanatic woman stabbed him in the guts and attempted to stab his genitals as well. Even partially disemboweled, Rasputin recovered, adding to his “Like a Boss!” legend.
The real legend concerned the next set of assassination attempts that ultimately resulted in his death, although he was not going to go easy! Relatives of the czar decided the Mad Monk had to go, and in the basement of the Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, putting cyanide in cakes and wine served to Rasputin seemed like the way to do it. Supposedly consuming these poisoned treats, Rasputin allegedly showed no ill effects! The distressed murderers then shot him in the torso, but even that was not enough. According to legend, Rasputin actually attacked one of his killers before being shot again, this time in the forehead.
Finally, the murderers wrapped Rasputin up and threw him into an icy river. Rasputin was dead, having died “Like a Boss!” Of course, some of the incredible events concerning his ultimate demise may have been embellished over the years and maybe simple explanations exist as to why he seemed so hard to kill.
Or maybe he really was a holy man!
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Regardless of what really happened on December 30, 1916, Rasputin has since become a legendary figure and the subject of everything from conspiracy theories to bizarre appearances in popular culture. For example, as a villain in…
…and yes, he also inspired a memorable character on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles named “Rasputin the Mad Frog“, because, well, why not?
You can also watch a video version of this article on YouTube.