According to popular myth Rasputin was a mysterious somewhat dubious man, infamous for drunken debauchery, when he took advantage of the Tsarina’s gullibility and exploited her vulnerability over her son’s ill health.



The young Tsarevich was a haemophiliac and during his episodes of bleeding Rasputin seemed, inexplicably, to be able to stop the boy haemorrhaging. It had the young Tsarevich’s doctors at a loss but earned Rasputin the Tsarina’s loyalty and devotion. It also won him influence in Russia’s imperial court. So much so that by 1916, Rasputin,a starets or faith healer, and  a lowly born peasant, held an unprecedented sway over the Russia’s ruling Romanov dynasty. Since then his name has almost become a byword for mystery and debauchery but Rasputin’s role in the events leading up to the Russian revolution remains essentially obscured. In effect a legend has grown up around the man but the reality may be far more intriguing than the popular myth.

… The young Alexis  fell under the spell of Rasputin’s hypnotic eyes, and whether or not he liked the faith healer from Siberia, it is a matter of dispute, he must have believed him when the starets stroked his brow and said that the fever would subside, and that the headaches would go away, or that the bleeding would stop. For that is what happened, much to the consternation of the royal physicians.

. Possibly a woman that Rasputin had \”ministered\” to in prior years, the attempted murderer left a potentially deadly wound that the mystic healed from a few weeks later.\’\'”]
1914. ”That year, Rasputin endured the first murder attempt on his life. On June 16, a woman named Khioniya Kozmishna Guseva stabbed Rasputin in the lower stomach outside of his home [source: Moynahan

The effect of all this on the empress Alexandra, whose religious fervor often crystallized into superstition, can readily be imagined. It was the miracle she had been praying for, incontestable proof that ”our Friend” , as she and Nicholas called Rasputin, had been ”sent to us by God”. No matter that the starets, pleasantly surprised at the shower of good things that began to descend on him now that he was a favorite of the royal family, set up an elaborate establishment in St. Petersburg from which rumors of high living and low pursuits soon began to filter back to the palace. It was all just jealous calumny , Alexandra believed, the kind of thing true saints had often had to endure; Jesus Himself, she sometimes reminded the emperor, was woefully maligned. The analogy appealed to her, and in her letter she almost invariably  uppercased the H in personal pronouns referring to Rasputin.


It is true, of course, that palace favorites always stir up much jealousy and spite, and the spectacle of the bearded peasant living in epicurean luxury and enjoying first claim on the attention of the czar and czarina was more than upper-class Russians could stand. Above all, it was Rasputin’s free and easy sex life that galled them. There probably was as much sexual license in St. Petersburg betwen 1900 and 1916 as anywhere in the world. The lascivious tradition established by Catherine the Great had never died, but peasants were supposed to know their place and not act like that; especially peasants who claimed to be more than usually religious.


”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 poster

Rasputin never disavowed the Church, and he prudently attended mass often enough to spike any charge of overt heresy. But to the extent that he was credited with having special lines to heaven, the hierarchy inevitably felt by-passed as well as insulted. Openly lewd behavior from such an individual was simply intolerable. As for the sturdy industrialists and country squires who made up the larger part of the Duma, the thought of Rasputin bedding down a ballerina one night and kissing the empress the next was enough to raise their blood pressure to dangerous heights.  Rasputin possessed an abundance of what Kabbalistic and esoteric teachings would characterize as  Life Force, It was this that may have enabled him to help the young Tsar when the Imperial family’s doctors were unable to do anything. For like any real healer, Rasputin was able to transmit this Life Force to the young Tsar and thus restore his ailing body. Apart from explaining Rasputin’s resilience to apparently life-threatening injuries and his ability to heal, it also accounts for his notorious sexual appetite. For in its unrefined state, an abundance of Chi or Life Force also manifests as abundant sexual energy.

Rasputin. 1996

So was born the legend of Rasputin as a sexual ogre. It was avidly promoted by his many enemies during the last decade of his life , and since then it has produced a garbage slide of lurid books and articles. A fanatical monk named Illidor, who at first was one of Rasputin’s disciples, then a competitor of sorts, and finally his bitterest enemy, wrote a book called ”The Holy Devil” , an alluring title that has since been used repeatedly. The book, gossiped many spicy details of ”our Friend’s” behavior with the opposite sex that allegedly were based on Illidor’s observations and the word of Rasputin himself.

Rasputin was not modest, and such stories, especially when recounted by a man who hated him, might have been thought of doubtful historicity; yet Sir Bernard Pares did not hesitate to use them in drawing his character sketch of the imperial favorite. It must be admitted that some of Illidor’s revelations border on the irresistible; for example, when Rasputin’s wife, for he did have a wife and three children, was quizzed on her reaction to her husband’s sexual exploits, she replied with something resembling family pride, ”He has enough for all.”

Rasputin and the Empress 1932. Irving Thalberg

Some of Rasputin’s debauchery can be gleaned from police reports. Plainclothesmen were stationed outside the prophet’sapartment at all times to keep notes on who went in and out; when Rasputin himself went out, he was followed. On the basis of this evidence it is possible to reach a reasonably objective conclusion about his venereal habits. A

he interesting point is that when the circumstances are considered, those habits seem to have been nothing very extraordinary. There was, to be sure, a fairly steady procession of actresses, dancers, and upper-class ladies who for one reason or another were careless of their reputations; and it does indeed appear that Rasputin was extremely direct in his approach to sex. He was not inclined to waste much time in dalliance.

Rasputin and the Empress. 1932

What was admittedly extraordinary was his situation. A strong and healthy peasant, with strong and healthy appetites, he was so influential at the royal household that in St. Petersburg he could actually do what most men achieve only in erotic dreams. He could enjoy a different woman every day, whether she came to him out of piqued curiosity, as a trembling offering in return for a political favor to her husband, or as a religious devotee whose Christian ecstasies had somehow gotten mixed up with her orgasms.

”Father Feofan’s doubts were of a more serious nature, they concerned Rasputin himself. If he was a holy man how could he speak so blasphemously about sin? Was his words part of the divine truth, or was the man the Devil emissary? Father Feofan hoped this matter would be settled at the next morning’s meeting between Rasputin and the bishop.

Rasputin and family

Bishop Hermogen was not take in by Rasputin’s saintliness but liked his peasant attitude. He immediately saw this man could help the Orthodox Church which was fighting the tendency toward westernization. He visualized Rasputin as being able to influence his fellow peasants as well as serving political purposes. Hermogen’s first step was to introduce Rasputin to the monk- priest of Tsarytsin, Iliodor. He was the church orator of Russia. The meeting occurred in the monk’s cell. He had been praying, intending to see how long his visitors would patiently wait. Although he finished praying he felt he had been intruded upon, for this he forever held Rasputin in both admiration and distrust. All three men eventually went to the Central Committee to get Rasputin seated. Late in the session when a member spoke against Rasputin’s admission Iliodor felt himself wanting to side with the member, but at the same instance he experienced similar sensations of dizziness as Father Feofan had and against his will voted with the Committee to seat Rasputin.”

”When the Archimandrite Theophan first presented him to the Tsar and Tsarina in October 1905, Rasputin was introduced as one of the “Chosen”. And the Archimandrite may well have been right, although maybe not quite in the way he understood. For this writer believes that Rasputin was an initiate: a man chosen by higher powers to fulfil a task in this world. The fact that he didn’t accomplish this task is more a measure of the forces he opposed, and the task he undertook, than of the man himself.

For Rasputin had a destiny which few can envy or aspire to. Had he fulfilled it he would have changed the course of history, literally. For in the years prior to the revolution, Rasputin was quietly trying to persuade Russia’s imperial rulers to sue for peace with Germany. Too many ordinary Russians were dying, he told them and the Tsarina, at least, was listening. At the time Russia had suffered a series of colossal defeats at the hands of the Germany army. Coupled with food shortages and political agitation, a climate of political unrest was brewing that eventually led to the 1917 Russian revolution.rasputin34

However, if Rasputin had been able to persuade the Romanov’s to make peace with Germany things might have been very different. Russian troops would have then returned home and political tensions might have eased to the point that there may not even have been a revolution. And the consequences of that would have been enormous. Just think about that for a moment, because the entire face of the twentieth century would have been transformed. Not only would hostilities have been brought to a close on the eastern front, but also with troops and supplies from the Eastern Front transferred across Europe, Germany may even have secured victory on the Western Front.

Moreover, the ramifications stretch well beyond World War I and the 1917 Russian revolution. For example there may never have been a Second World War or a Chinese revolution. And along with Vietnam and Korea, the numerous other regional conflicts that marked the Cold War may never have happened. The same applies to the founding of Israel and the various conflicts in the Middle East that followed that. So if Rasputin had persuaded Russia’s imperial family to sue for peace much of what characterised the last century may never have happened. …”

”…According to Professor Sharov, Russia’s foremost pathologist, who carried out the second investigation, the third shot had been fired point blank at Rasputin’s forehead – the hallmark of a professional execution style killing. Yet somehow he had survived even that. Water in his lungs indicates death by drowning, after his body was dumped in to the freezing waters of the Neva.

However this was not the first attempt on Rasputin’s life. In June 1914 – significantly perhaps, on the very same day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo – a religious fanatic had stabbed Rasputin. Although he recovered, the attack left Rasputin an invalid for months afterwards.”….

According to Richard Cullen, a retired Scotland Yard commander who has been studying the case with Andrew Cook, an intelligence historian, British intelligence even had a code word for Rasputin. With charecteristic cynicism they referred to him as “Dark Forces” and it was almost certain that Oswald Raynor delivered the third and final shot to Rasputin’s head.

“I am 99.9 per cent certain of this,” said Mr Cullen in a recent interview. “There is a fair weight of evidence to show that Rayner was the man. We have conclusive proof that the previously accepted versions of events are fabrications.”(2) Indeed the presence of British Intelligence was crucial to the whole operation. Had they not been there, Yusopov and his accomplices may well have lost their nerve. As it was though, they completed their task under the direction of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (S.I.S.), the forerunner of today’s MI5 and MI6.  Despite claims that British intelligence wanted to get rid of Rasputin because he was urging that Russia make peace with Germany, his murder was probably part of a longer term and altogether more sinister agenda. ( Rixon Stewart )

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  1. Mrs C says:

    Yah, most of this is the myth that the aristocracy would have you believe. They did anything to discredit him because he was for peace and fought vigorously for equal rights for the severely oppressed Jews who were often slaughtered in raids called pogroms. His ‘interference’ in politics was an attempt to bring in cabinet ministers who would abolish all the oppressive laws restricting Jews, and bring about peace with Germany. In the press, he was depicted just like the Jews were – as evil, ugly and power hungry. This is how the nobles defamed those they didn’t like. But think about this: the deeply anti-Semitic Romanovs slaughtered and tortured entire towns of Jews, while Rasputin never killed nor harmed a single soul, and even forgave those who tried to assassinate him, refusing to press charges. He gave money to the poor and helped them receive an education. So, who was really the evil one?

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for the comment. Over writing this series, I do tend to hold the position, that he was a ”just” man, though not without flaws. I cited an excellent book in the blog, written by A Russian in 1936. Extremely detailed account. The link will take you there. Also, I believe the research by Andrew Cook is credible. Effectively, both the Nobility and the Communists wanted him out of the way. The hypothesis of Russia making peace with Germany and linking that to the Allied effort is fascinating, and one that is also plausible.

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