The name Rasputin was bandied about in the country’s senate deliberations in the week, so who was Rasputin?
Gregory Rasputin (1869-1917) was a Russian peasant, mystic and self-proclaimed holy man of the Orthodox faith.
He rose to prominence in Russian society starting around 1905 because the royal family at the time, led by Tsar Nicholas and his wife, Alexandra, believed he possessed the ability to heal their son, Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia.
His growing influence separated the Tsar from his people – his notorious affairs with aristocratic women, and rumors that he was having an affair with the Tsarina herself, convinced many that he was a disgrace to the court, and had to be eliminated
Eventually, he fell out of favor among the Russian elite as his influence and wrong did seemed to destroy the credibility of the monarchy. Rasputin, was book illiterate thus used his influence in the Tsar’s court to encourage the most reactionary impulses and thus impeded reforms that might have helped avert the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
Rasputin was assassinated by a group of conservative noblemen who opposed his influence over Alexandra and the Tsar. He died from drowning after earlier attempts to kill him by cyanide poisoning and battering had apparently failed.
A truly extraordinary figure, and in Russia rumors are probably still swirling about him and his exploits. His place in history was also sealed after a musical group Boney M composed a song about him in the mid-seventies. The song describes Rasputin as a playboy, healer, and political manipulator.
Without Rasputin, there could have been no Lenin. But Historians doubt if he was a master political strategist, Rasputin was a man who was merely an illiterate man with a powerful hypnotic personality who was in the right place at the right time in history.