Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a man surrounded by many controversies. From his humble beginning to his untimely and well-analyzed murder, he was considered poisonous and beneficial, revered and insane. Being a simple peasant, Rasputin’s influence over the Romanovs and their associating political figures was astounding to many people, but few would disagree with the fact that he was one of the major causes of the Russian Revolution, and the grisly end of the Romanov line.
The beginning of Grigori Rasputin’s long and eventful life was anything but fabulous. He was born and raised a peasant, he failed to develop basic reading or writing skills, and he entered the Verkhoture Monastery while still in his adolescent years. Along the way, he decided that monkhood was not in his future, and left the monastery. Rasputin moved back to his hometown of Pokrovskoye, Siberia, and married at the young age of nineteen. He and his wife, Proskovia Fyodorovna, had three children during their first few years of marriage, and it seemed he would follow in his father’s poverty-stricken footsteps. Rasputin was not appeased by his marriage; he felt unsettled and did not stay home for long. He became a wanderer, and made many unaccompanied pilgrimages to holy places such as Mount Athos, Greece, and Jerusalem. While on these pilgrimages, he collected pity donations in order to feed and clothe himself, and began to build up his famed reputation as a starets.
Around the year 1903, after wandering aimlessly for quite some time, Rasputin meandered into St. Petersburg, the bustling capitol of the Russian empire. In the early nineteen-hundreds, the court circles of St. Petersburg had begun to take an interest in the mystics, holy “healers,” and the occult, and therefore welcomed the renowned Rasputin with open arms. In the year 1908, the Romanovs, whose son Alexei had a rare blood condition called hemophilia, called for urgent care during one of his “bleeding attacks.” Rasputin was called to the palace, and used his “healing powers,” estimated to be hypnosis, to calm the boy and ease his suffering. The Romanovs quickly took a shine to the grungy Rasputin, as he was the only healer they had summoned whose treatment had proved beneficial to their son’s dire condition.
In the years after their introduction, Rasputin played the part of the “holy peasant” very well in the Romanov’s presence, but his image deteriorated in the eyes of the Russian populace. He acquired many mistresses, claiming that contact with his physical presence was purifying and could heal illness. After a while, word of Rasputin’s scandalous behavior reached the Romanov family. At first, the tsar and his wife refused to acknowledge the rumors, choosing instead to believe that Rasputin was simply a lowly peasant, but after the Russian Prime Minister sent a report...