Controversies centering Rasputin, Tsar and Tsarina


Rasputin is no more in this world but people like him rise again and again and create undue influence over the rulers and brings the same destruction for them and for everyone, writes Nuzhat Rifa Ehsan

Controversy in politics as it was in the past, it is in the present and it will remain ever in the future. The most discussed and mysterious controversies which developed surrounding Rasputin, Tsarina, Tsar and their son in the then Russia were above many of them and crossed its limit of time and territory, manner and nature. Historians opined that Rasputin was not solely responsible for the fall of Romanov dynasty but he was the person who expedited the process of destruction through his act and activities, mysticism and hypnotism, horrific and harrowing deeds.

Rasputin was killed no doubt, but many Rasputins are always alive in every age – for all time.

Strange to say, we do not know much for certain about Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin’s early life. Some accounts tell us that he was born in a peasant family in Siberia and we do not know much about his childhood. However, he married Praskovia, a daughter of a small farmer and had three children. It is also known that he had another wife and a child and left his birthplace Pokrovskoye as a stannic (religious pilgrim). During the time, he traveled to Greece, Jerusalem and other parts of the world as a monk and in 1903, Rasputin came back to Saint Petersburg where he gradually gained a reputation as a holy man with a capacity of healing and prophetical powers. Rasputin was passing his days in Siberia and he heard the news of Tsaverich Alexis’s illness in 1904. Before that it was not publicly known that the prince had an incurable disease like hemophilia, which he inherited from his mother’s side that may reach up to Queen Victoria of England. Tsaverich hurt his head after he fell off a horse; he suffered from internal bleeding while he was passing his holidays with his family. One of her friends helped the empress to find this charismatic peasant healer. In 1905, he was brought to the palace and indeed he was able to give the boy some relief, despite the doctors’ prediction that he would die. Though Rasputin’s treatment was full of mystery and superstition, some of the people discovered the tricks of his treatment. Every time the boy had an injury causing an internal or external bleeding, the Tsarina (empress) contacted Rasputin whereupon the Prince subsequently got better and this made it seem as if Rasputin was effectively healing him. The Tsar family’s dependency on Rasputin increased day by day. Even the Tsar referred to him as “our friend” and a “holy man”.

Rasputin soon became powerful and involved himself in political affairs. He was a supporter of monarchy and resisting anti- monarchist revolutionary and other political forces. Thus he developed his interest beyond his profession as a healer and entered into undue political interaction with the royal family. He was accused by many eminent persons of his various misdeeds ranging from serious bad habits to the field of prevailing political situation. However Rasputin and the Russian Orthodox Church had a very tense relationship. The church attacked him frequently accusing him of a variety of immoral evil practices.

During this time he was under protection of Tsar’s family and especially of Empress Alexandra. Some credible evidence about his uncontrollable lifestyle implicating the empress herself came as reports from the Police spies, which were not only handed over to the Tsar but also published in the newspapers. Rasputin who had much identical philosophy with Bhagban Rajnish of recent times believed that grace is found through self-flagellation. During World War I, situation worsened for Rasputin because of his unpatriotic influence at court but the unpopular Tsarina who was of German decent became his ardent supporter and patron. Rasputin claimed that he had a revelation that the Russian armies would not be successful until the Tsar personally took command of his army. With his advice the ill-prepared Nicholas (Tsar) proceeded to take personal command of the Russian army that brought dire consequence for himself and for Russia.

During this war, Nicholas, who was away from his palace, Rasputin’s influence over Tsarina increased immensely. He soon became her confidante and personal adviser. He also convinced her to fill some government offices with his own handpicked personal. Russia’s economy deteriorated immensely at a rapid rate and most of the people blamed the empress Alexandra and Rasputin indicating their having an illicit relationship.

Politicians, revolutionaries and journalists who were against this dynasty’s rule used Rasputin’s influence over the Royal family against the Tsar and his government by politicians and revolutionaries and journalists who were against this dynasty’s rule.

During this time the communist movement under V.I. Lenin shook Russia tremendously but on the other side Rasputin advised Tsar Nicholas II to establish a constitutional monarchy. Nicholas accepted Rasputin’s proposal and appointed a new Prime Minister Peter Stolypin who brought a noticeable change in Russian economy and his tenure saw major advances in industrial and agricultural sector. But to Rasputin, Solypin was a man of hatred. He could not tolerate him at all and to Tsarina she whispered repeatedly against Stolypin, the man who did so much to preserve Nicholas’ throne. It was the irony of fate! A communist revolutionary at an opera house assassinated Nicholas’ Prime Minister Stolypin on September 5 in 1911. People from all spheres of life rose against Rasputin and the Romanov dynasty but Rasputin knew how to deal with the enemies and thus people began to believe that Rasputin had hypnotic control over the Tsar, Tsarina and his whole family.

Finally by late 1916,several aristocratic people designed a plot to murder Rasputin and in accordance with it, in December a group of aristocrats including a cousin of Tsar decided that Rasputin had to be killed in order to save the monarchy and Russia itself. They lured him to his (cousin) palace on the impression that Prince Felexi (another relative of the Tsar) would introduce Rasputin to his beautiful wife. Rasputin was provided nice cakes and wine laced with highly powerful poison. But to the surprise of everyone he survived and the poison had no effect on him. Yusapov then shot Rasputin at a point blank rage and Rasputin collapsed on the floor. When Yusapov went to tell his fellow conspirator that Rasputin was dead, they sent him back to make sure. He was astonished when he inspected Rasputin’s body. He suddenly regained consciousness. The prince fled away and screamed for help and when Yusapov and Grand Duke returned, Rasputin had already left the place. They found him in the yard, crawling towards the gate and again the prince fired on him repeatedly. Then they bruised him and tossed him into the Neva River. When Rasputin’s body was found the next day, his lungs were filled with water showing that he did not actually die until he had submerged in the frozen waters. Rasputin died but it was too late for the monarchy as revolutionaries captured power very soon after this incident.

Another interesting point is that recent evidence discovers that British Secret Service Operatives killed Rasputin as the British were blaming Rasputin for withdrawing Russian troops for World War I. This withdrawal would have allowed the Germans to move their Eastern Front troops to the Western Front, spelling almost certain victory for the Germans. Whether this was actually done or not it was clear that the British viewed him as a real danger.

Rasputin is no more in this world but people like him rise again and again and create undue influence over the rulers and brings the same destruction for them and for everyone.

Nuzhat Rifa Ehsan is a regular contributor to Blitz


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