Grigori Rasputin was born on January 10th, 1869, in the small and remote Siberian village of Pokrovskoe in the West Siberian Plain. Grigori was the fifth of nine children in the family of the peasant Yefim Yakovlevich Rasputin and his wife.
He never attended school and probably had never became literate. But even in his early years, he astonished the locals from his village and many of them believed that the young Rasputin possessed supernatural powers.
Others thought that young Rasputin was possessed by the devil.
Rasputin claimed he could heal animals by whispering to them and thought that his spirit was taken taken over by a higher force.
He spent three months in the Verkhoturye Monastery when he was about 18, intending to become a monk. This was a life-changing experience for him, so when he returned home he claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary.
Rasputin married Praskovia Fyodorovna Dubrovina in 1889 when he was about 19 and they had three children-Dmitri, Varvara, and Maria. However, Rasputin soon left his home and traveled to Greece and the Middle East, making several pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
In 1903, Rasputin arrived in Saint Petersburg, where he gradually gained a reputation of a starets ( spiritual father) who possesses healing and prophetical powers.
Rasputin spent two years in Saint Petersburg before he was introduced to the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna.
Nicolas and his wife Alexandra were so impressed by Rasputin that he became a regular visitor in their palace and Alexandra Feodorovna spent hours talking to him about religion. She believed that God had sent Rasputin to the royal family in order to protect the dynasty.
Apparently, their son Aleksey, who was the only male heir to the throne, suffered from hemophilia. No one knows how, but Rasputin managed to cure Tsarevich Alexei.
Rasputin became the adviser of Tsar Nicolas II and the Tsar referred to Rasputin as “our friend” and a “holy man,” a sign of the trust that the family placed in him.
Outside court, however, he soon fell into his former licentious habits. Preaching that physical contact with his own person had a purifying and healing effect, he lure mistresses and attempted to seduce many other women. Rumor had had it that he organized his own sect performing religious sex rituals.
The stories of his exploits raged across Saint Petersburg, including charges of raping a nun and seducing Tsaritsa Alexandra.
Rasputin was mostly notorious among the nobles and they tried to tell Nicholas to distance himself from Rasputin but the Tsar refused to believe that he was anything other than a holy man.
In 1915, while Tsar Nicholas II was away at the front, Rasputin’s influence over Tsaritsa Alexandra increased immensely.
He became her personal adviser, even had convinced her to appoint people by his choice to powerful political positions.
There were several attempts for Rasputin’s execution. He survived one assassination attempt and almost survived a second, in which he was reportedly poisoned, shot, and left for dead, shot again when he revived, beaten, and drowned.
According to a group of nobles, led by Prince Felix Yusupov and the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, Rasputin was a dangerous threat to the empire and on the night of December 29th, 1916, they invited him to Yusupov’s palace and fed him wine and cakes laced with cyanide.
Apparently, the poison did not affect Rasputin so they shot him multiple times and then wrapped him in a carpet and threw him into the Neva River.
Before his death, Rasputin sent a letter to Nicholas lamenting his own death, predicting that if he were killed by government officials, the entire imperial family would be killed by the Russian people.
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15 months later Russian Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna and all of their children were murdered by assassins amidst the Russian Revolution.