Rasputin
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Russia's Greatest Love Machine

He is one of the most enigmatic and fascinating characters in history: Rasputin, the self-proclaimed holy man who claimed to be a holistic healer, madman, womanizer, hater of baths and personal friend to the royal family of Russia. Even today he is a shadowy and mysterious character. He was also accused of being a spy for the Germans, the devil incarnate, a hypnotist, and rumoured to be a seducer of the Czarina (the Queen of Russia).

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (or Grigori Yefimovich Novy) was born a peasant in the Tyumen district of Siberia, in the village of Pokrovskoye. He attended school but remained only semiliterate. His unusual nature began to show even in childhood. At a young age, he reportedly had the ability to heal animals, and he soon acquired a most-deserved reputation as a seducer of women. He never tried to lose or change that reputation either. He married around 1889 (precise date unknown).

Following a pilgrimage trip to a holy place in 1901 he abandoned his wife and declared himself a monk. He began spreading his unique religious philosophy throughout the countryside (and likely fathered many children along the way). He eventually found his way to St. Petersburg in 1903, the capital of imperial Russia, and in 1905 gained an audience with Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra, the latter of which was involved in a high society fad for spiritualism and exoticism. Sadly his actions would indirectly bring down the monarchy in 1917.

Popular religion and spiritualism was fashionable in high circles and although he was not ordained, Rasputin enjoyed the favor of some prominent leaders in the Russian Orthodox Church.

A number of influential churchmen fell for Rasputin early in his 'career' as a holy man. These supporters in the church hierarchy later turned on him and attempted to send him away from St. Peterburg. Rasputin cunningly knew how to undermine his enemies in the church and soon had them exiled or in disgrace. A bishop or monk who opposed him might find themself suddenly sent to a remote monastery or far-away episcopal see.

Rasputin's sexual activities and excessive womanizing were no secret and he enjoyed free access to the royal family. As the Russian population's misery grew (which endured the Russian Revolution of 1905), Rasputin became a symbol of Russian decadence, and indeed became the most hated man in all of Russia (at least amongst other men) yet he continued in his role as a confidante of the Romanovs. The people could not understand this, and the fact that Czar Nicholas II treated this "mad peasant" as an equal stained the royal family's reputation.

Between 1906 and 1914, Rasputinís association with the imperial family was used by politicians and journalists who wished to undermine the dynastyís credibility, hoping to force the emperor out of power, and by others seeking to assert the independence of the Russian Orthodox Church from the state. The propaganda boasted about Rasputin's influence on the imperial couple and his debauched lifestyle made things worse when he was involved in a number of public disputes with church figures.

Rasputin & The Royal Ramily

We now know why Rasputin meant so much to the czar and his family. The czar's only son Alexis, the sole heir to the throne, suffered from hemophilia and could bleed to death from relatively minor wounds. Rasputin was reputably able to heal the boy in the midst of his serious attacks, to the extent that Empress Alexandra believed must have been sent by God. For this reason the royal family bound themselves to him, and since Czar Nicholas II could not reveal his son's medical condition to the people (that would weaken the monarchy more so), he was quite unable to explain to the Russian people why the madman enjoyed such unlimited access to the palace.

Rasputin was close to the Tsaritsa's closest friend, Anya Vyrubova. Her devotion to him was absolute, which was reinforced after a terrible derailment of the train from Tsarskoe Selo to Petersburg in which Anna was almost killed. Although she survived the accident Anna's condition was so bad her doctors despaired of saving her life; her body was crushed and mangled.

Rasputin came to her bedside, stood over Anna as she lay near death. He reached out and held her hand. Dripping with sweat, intensely focused, Rasputin repeated the words, "Annushka, Annushka, rise!". The drama of the moment was incredible. Anna suddenly awoke from her coma, opened her eyes and tried to rise from her bed. It was a miracle. As Rasputin staggered into the next room, he spoke, prophetically saying that although she would live, but for the rest of her life Anna would be a cripple. So it came to be.

Rasputin tried to ingratiate himself with other members of the Romanov family, but most of them would have nothing to do with him. Olga for example, Czar Nicholas II's sister, resented Rasputin's prying into her private life and rebuffed his offers of spiritual help in her marital problems.

Some theorize that Rasputin might have been able to keep Russia out of World War I. The madman had prophesied that ruin would come with war, but following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Rasputin was in a hospital recovering from a brutal attack by an ex-lover. By the time he returned to St. Petersburg, the Russian army was being torn apart at the front and revolution at home took on an air of inevitability.

Rasputin began drinking heavily and breaking his own records for lewd public behavior. Despite all this, his ties to the Romonovs only increased when Czar Nicholas II went to the front in 1915 to take charge of his floundering army and left Rasputin to safeguard the royal family, during which time it is rumoured he seduced the empress. Rasputin was a convenient scapegoat for those who wanted to attack the Tsar's appointments and decisions.

Empress Alexandra was the leader during the Czar's two year absence and Rasputin was a frequent advisor to her. Rasputin persuaded the empress to fill a few offices with his nominees. What mattered, however, was not Rasputinís still very limited influence on policies and appointments but the fact that he was widely credited with being the dominant figure in the emperorís counsels. Amidst the growing mood of hysteria brought on by wartime defeats and privations, this false perception about the power of a semiliterate peasant fatally damaged the monarchy.

The communists saw that things had gone too far and Rasputin had to die so they attempted to poison him.

He was however incredibly hard to kill. Several lethal doses of poison had no effect so more drastic action was needed.

In December 1916 Rasputin was murdered by a group of conspirators and his body was dumped in to the St. Petersburg canal. The conspirators included the emperorís first cousin, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov, Vladimir Mitrofanovich Purishkevich and his nephew by marriage, Prince Felix Felixovich Yusupov. These politically conservative aristocrats had hoped naively to rescue the dynastyís prestige and alter the political direction of the country which was again leaning towards civil war.

Rasputin was invited by Prince Felix to visit his palace on the Moika Canal. The pretext was the opportunity for Rasputin to meet Felix's wife, Irina, who was a great beauty and niece of the Tsar. Rasputin wanted to meet Irina and was flattered by Felix's attention. Felix claims he had been nurturing a relationship with Rasputin for a number of years before the invitation, although this relationship has never been fully explained. Felix always portrayed his murder of Rasputin as a political act to save Russia from civil war.

Within months the country was thrown into civil war anyway and that led to the deaths of the entire royal family. Their relationship with Rasputin was part of the royal family's downfall.

Rasputin was not an attractive man by modern standards, as photographs show, but exhibited a strange allure and charisma that women found irresistable. The fact that he rarely bathed should not have helped him with the ladies, but perhaps it was his animalistic nature that drew them in. We one can only ponder what sort of unnatural characteristic made him irresistible to so many women.

Rasputin did seemingly have the ability to heal by some unknown means, suggesting he was a hermetic healer (like a druid or a herbalist), although certainly not by any "magical means". He was a perceptive man with unusual knowledge suggesting he had been trained when he was younger by a healer or herbalist.

Was he truly insane or evil? Likely it was just drunkeness. Strong drink gets the best of even the most extraordinary men. His lewd behaviour was the stuff of legend and it is difficult to tell fact from fiction. Much of his life has been mythologized. It is amazing no one is seeking to make a movie out of his life.


Rasputin's Penis

According to rumour when Rasputin's murderers killed they also castrated him, but this is simply untrue. The official autopsy report claimed that his genitalia were left intact. A number of people boasting to be in possession of his severed penis and testicles have come forth, although none of them have been able to come up with conclusive evidence that it is his.

A maid claims she discovered the severed organ at Rasputinís murder site, keeping it until it was sold in the 1920s to a group of female Russian expatriates living in Paris. The women worshiped the member as a fertility charm, storing it inside a wooden casket. Upon learning of the women, Rasputin's daughter, Marie, demanded that the item be returned to her. She maintained custody of the object until her death in 1977.

A man named Michael Augustine claimed to have purchased the member, along with a number of Rasputin's other personal items, at a lot sale following Marie Rasputin's death. Augustine sold the artifact to Bonhams auction house, but officials quickly realized that the item was not a penis, and was in fact a sea cucumber. It is unclear if the sea creature was the same item worshipped by the aforementioned Russian women in the 1920s, or if Augustine was simply attempting to defraud the auction house.

In 2004, Igor Knyazkin, the chief of the prostate research center of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, announced that he was opening a Russian museum of erotica in St. Petersburg, Russia. Among the exhibits, Knyazkin claims, is the 29cm (11.8 inch) long "preserved penis" of Grigory Rasputin, along with several of Rasputin's letters. He stated that he purchased the items from a French collector of antiquities and artifacts for Ä6,600 (US $8,000). Knyazkin had said that merely viewing the supposed penis will cure males of impotency. It is not known if the genitalia is indeed that of Rasputin.


Disco Song: Ra-Ra-Rasputin

Written by Frank Farian and performed by the disco group Boney M. It was first published on Boney M's 1978 album Nightflight to Venus. The song is a semi-biographical ballad whose subject and namesake is Grigori Rasputin, a friend and advisor of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family during the early 20th century. The song variously sensationalizes Rasputin as a playboy, mystical healer, and political demiurge.

The song references Rasputin's healing of Alexis and how this endeared him to the boy's mother, the Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna (former Princess Alix of Hesse). It also claims that Rasputin was Alexandra's paramour ("Ra Ra Rasputin: lover of the Russian queen") and that Rasputin's political power overshadowed that of the Tsar himself. While "Rasputin" accurately indicates that unfavorable rumors damaged Grigori's reputation, there is no verifiable evidence to suggest that he had an affair with Alexandra.

The end of the song recounts a modified version of a popular description of the events that culminated in Rasputin's assassination, as perpetrated by Felix Yusupov, Vladimir Purishkevich, and Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia on December 16, 1916. Specifically, the song states that Rasputin's assassins fatally shot him after he survived the poisoning of his wine with a very large dose of cyanide.

The song is historically inaccurate in at least one respect. The line "but to Moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear" seems to imply that Moscow was the Russian capital at the time the events described in the song took place. It was in fact St. Petersburg (later Petrograd). The capital was not moved to Moscow until 1918, after the death of Rasputin and the end of the Imperial era.

The song rose to the top of the charts in Germany and Austria, and went to #2 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Although the song was written and performed in English (with a smattering of German), it enjoyed great popularity in Russia and is credited with making Rasputin famous again there.

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