The End of the Horse Whisperer.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Rasputin had many enemies and the main conspiracy to get rid of him involved a Finnish ballerina, Lisa Tansin. She invited Rasputin to her home for some drinks, naturally, this results in them getting falling over drunk together, and when Rasputin was ready she brought out the hired naked ladies and took some secret pictures. The following day a man came knocking on Rasputin’s door and told him that he had the photos and that if he didn’t leave town he would give the photos to Nicholas. Rasputin got in front of this attempted blackmail he took the photos to Nicholas himself and groveled for forgiveness. Nicholas responded by sending him on a first-class pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Rasputin left and a few months later returned, finding that there was a new Chief-Procurator of the Holy Synod. The Chief-Procurator of the Holy Synod was essentially the Head of Religion due to how intertwined church and state were. Rasputin knew if he wanted to stay around because he was there officially in church capacity, he needed to get the Chief-Procurator to like him. Rasputin’s many enemies included the Bishop of Siberia, Hermogenes, who had the most pious monk in Russia at his side, Iliodor. One night Iliodor invited Rasputin to dinner at Hermogenes home. When he arrived Hermogenes, Iliodor, and two members of the Duma dragged him to a church and began hurling accusations of devilry and that he had raped many of his female followers. When Rasputin began defending himself, Hermogenes became overwhelmed with rage and started beating him. Iliodor and the two Duma members joined in on the beating, forcing him to swear not to talk with the royal family again. According to Rasputin, The Untold Story, one of the Duma members grabbed Rasputin by the penis trying to castrate him. Rasputin escaped this attack and went straight to Nicholas and told him what had happened.

In turn, Nicholas stripped Hermogenes of all titles and power and exiled him for his role in the attack. No information is established about what happened to the Duma members, but Iliodor lost his mind. Iliodor publicly denounced the church as an abomination, called the Holy Synod a house of pigs, Alexandra a Rasputinite woman, Nicholas a drunk, small, fool, and claimed Rasputin was the father of Alexei. Then renounced his own faith calling it magic and superstition in a letter written in his own blood, and left for the country. I have to pause at this and emphasize that Rasputin, the drunk, heretic, mystic healing, peasant broke the most tenacious and pious monk in Russia. It’s utter insanity that the dirty wanderer from two articles ago has risen so far in such a short amount of time, in ten years total he went from vagabond to one of the most influential and hated men in the world. He was sanctified as the one who could help Alexei and the sole outsider to know the royal family’s secret. Yet hated by almost everyone to the extent that Nicholas made a formal decree that Rasputin’s name could not be used in the same sentence as the royal family’s. Now back to the story. With Rasputin’s main enemies out of the way, he started suggesting that some of his friends take over positions in the autocracy. One of which was a large man with a high voice who enjoyed sometimes dressing as a woman and going out on the town. While on a trip to Kyiv with the royal family, Rasputin had a vision about the Prime Minister. He told him and all night Rasputin spoke in his sleep, “death is coming!” and the next day the Prime Minister was dead. Rasputin would be at Nicholas’s side helping decid11911e on affairs of state at the topmost level for the first but not the last time. Not long after this, a series of letters between Rasputin and Alexandra leaked to the public. It’s unknown how the letters leaked but a widely held belief is that Iliodor had stolen them when Rasputin, and he were still friends. These letters deeply embarrassed Alexandra and hurt the royal family’s image. After this, they refused to accept Rasputin at the palace, and he went back too Siberia to pout as he often did. During this time the telegram healing from the earlier article occurred. In 1912, the family had gone to Poland for a hunting trip and a bumpy carriage caused a hemorrhage in Alexei, and he neared death. Alexandra sent a telegram to Rasputin, and he healed him. Rasputin would never leave the royal family’s side after this. Sadly for them and the world, World War One would start in 2 years.

Rasputin was firmly against the war for numerous reasons namely; first, he was a peasant and knew that they would see the brutality, not the top brass, secondly, he knew they couldn’t win, the axis powers had superior technology and training, thirdly, a revolution was guaranteed and that meant the death of the entire royal family and himself. In the summer of 1914, Rasputin was walking to answer a telegram and a cloaked woman approached him, pulled a knife out, and stabbed him in the stomach. Rasputin grabbed a stick, hit her in the head with it, and then began proclaiming he had been stabbed. Police arrived and when they removed her cloak, they found she had no nose. Rasputin believed Iliodor to be the one who set this assassination attempt up, due to the woman claiming to be an inspired follower of his. He spent forty-nine days in the hospital as a doctor meticulously pieced his intestines back together, causing severe pain and cementing his near-constant drunk state for the rest of his life. As for Iliodor when he learned of what had happened he dressed up as a woman, gave an interview to a newspaper in full drag, and went to Norway. In March 1915 while on a pilgrimage to regain the view of him being a holy man, Rasputin drunkenly headed to a restaurant for dinner. As he got more drunk, he became more inappropriate, grabbing the waitresses and making advances towards them, making wild claims allegedly hinting at an affair with Alexandra, pulling his penis out, and waving it around to prove he was Rasputin. The police chief who arrested Rasputin had been fired for unrelated reasons shortly after, but the perception was if you go against Rasputin you will not last. At the start of World War One Nicholas left to lead the Russian army and left Alexandra in charge of the day-to-day aspects of ruling the empire with Rasputin at her side. In December 1916 the aristocracy would have enough of Rasputin, plan and carry out the greatest and possibly most important assassination in history up to this point.

Prince Felix Yusupov, a right-wing politician named Vladimir Purishkevich, and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich gathered and set about planning how they would kill the black monk, Rasputin. One night Felix invited Rasputin over for a party. When Rasputin arrived Felix along with the others greeted him, while listening to Yankee Doodle Dandy. Felix then led him to the dining room in the basement where sweet cakes and wine laced with cyanide were waiting for him. Felix offered the cakes to Rasputin, and he refused at first, but as he drank the wine and became drunker, he started scarfing down the cakes. Rasputin after eating the cakes and drinking three bottles of wine was still alive and only complained he had a time swallowing at one point. They sat in the basement for over an hour then Rasputin saw a guitar in the corner of the room and asked Felix to play him some songs. After playing some Rasputin started nodding off and Felix would stop playing then he would wake up and tell him to keep playing. On the precipice of a complete breakdown, Felix went upstairs and took a revolver from one of the other conspirators, walked back down the stairs, told Rasputin to admire a crucifix hanging on the wall and make his final prayers, then shot him in the chest. Rasputin fell to the floor and the men set about completing their plan. One of them put on Rasputin’s coat, and they drove to Rasputin’s home thinking that if they made sure it looked like he had been dropped off at home no one would think anything had happened. After this they went back to Felix’s home, Felix needed to see the body again for whatever reason and went back to the basement. When he got there, Rasputin’s eyes opened wide, and he sprang at Felix attacking him. Felix fled up the stairs, Rasputin hot on his trail followed, and ran out the door into the courtyard. Felix and the others started shooting at him and Rasputin collapsed into a snowbank a shot in his back and temple. The men brought Rasputin back into the house, Felix fainted, and the other men wrapped his body up, tossed him in the trunk of their car and drove to a bridge, and threw his body over along with one of his shoes that had fallen off during the whole process, and went back to Felix believing the myth and lore of Rasputin certainly over. When Rasputin was nowhere to be found the following day, people assumed he had disappeared as mysteriously as he had arrived and would come back someday. Then the shoe that had been thrown over the bridge was found sitting on a block of ice and everyone started to think Rasputin had been murdered, and a couple of days later the body was found on the surface of the river. The plan Felix and his co-conspirators had been to wrap his body in heavy chains to ensure the body didn’t float to the surface, but that night they forgot. When the body arrived on the shore, everyone saw that Rasputin truly was dead. In possibly the strangest turn of events, the assassination attempt made by the noseless woman and the intestinal damage from it might have saved Rasputin, if only for a short time, as no poison was found in his body during the autopsy. It’s possible that due to this injury Rasputin didn’t produce as much stomach acid which prevented the cyanide from killing him.

This ends our series on Rasputin. I’m not sure what we will cover in our next segment, but if you enjoyed it, leave suggestions and feedback in the comments. Make sure to check out the source material for this as there are many, many stories not included in this series. Rasputin: The Untold Story by Joseph T. Fuhrmann and Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs incredible books by fantastic authors. Everyone have a great day.

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Josiah Thornton

I'm a history junky at heart, but I really enjoy all of it. From Anthropology to the latest gaming trends. My goal is publish twice a week.