A. PLAN OF INVESTIGATION
Among the greatest mysteries of Russian history is the influence of the Mad Monk Grigori Rasputin. During his time in court 1907-1916, Rasputin developed a complex relationship with the ruling Romanovs and leading ministers due to his mystical ability to treat the hemophilia of the sole heir to the throne, Tsarevich Alexei.
The topic of this investigation is to analyze to what extent did the personal influence of Grigori Rasputin lead to the fall of the Russian Empire. The analysis will investigate the relationship of Rasputin to those in positions of power, starting from the time when Rasputin first treated Alexei to the last days of the Romanov Dynasty. Statements from those acquainted with Rasputin and historical analyses of Rasputin’s life will be analyzed to elucidate the extent of Rasputin’s influence.
B. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE
Tsar Nicholas II and his Tsarina, Empress Alexandra, had only one son, Tsarevich Alexei. However, Alexei had inherited from his great-grandmother Queen Victoria the life-threatening genetic disease hemophilia B, a sex-linked genetic disease on the X chromosome that caused a condition of deficiency in blood-clotting and excessive bleeding, symptoms that usually remain hidden unless contracted by a male (Fuhrmann 37; King 28). To Nicholas II, it was imperative that he have a son to succeed him to secure the throne. Alexei was Nicholas’s sole male heir, giving Nicholas the incentive to protect his son at all costs. Without a scientific cure for the genetic disease, Alexandra turned to religion, namely Grigori Rasputin, a poor uneducated Siberian peasant to protect her son.
Introduced as holy man capable of cures, the Mad Monk Grigori Rasputin first arrived in the capital St. Petersburg to meet with the Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra on 1 November 1905 (Fuhrmann 39; Massie 231). Over time, Rasputin would become a regular in the palace as Alexei’s mystical healer. Rasputin is credited for saving Alexei’s life in 1912 after a hemorrhage nearly claimed his life (King 33).
Very quickly, Rasputin gained the favor of Nicholas, but quickly made enemies with high-ranked officials (Jonge 172). The deeply pious Alexandra saw Rasputin as a gift from God, sent to help her son (Fuhrmann 43; Massie 234). Rasputin developed a deeply personal relationship with the Tsar’s immediate family, often speaking to them in personal rather than official terms (Massie 233). In their letters, Rasputin is referenced as “Our Friend” (A. F. Romanov).
However, new attention around Rasputin made him a target within the political elite, which saw Rasputin as a threat to the Romanov Dynasty. The Russian Prime Minister, Stolypin, disapproved of Rasputin’s correspondence with the tsar and ordered an investigation into Rasputin in 1911 (Fuhrmann 59; Radzinsky 137). Even the Church also investigated Rasputin in 1911 (Massie 244). Rasputin’s behavior, such as drinking, making sexual advances upon other women, and...