Rasputin was born in 1872 and died in 1916 and he was to be one of the central figures in Russia’s modern history up to the fall of the royal family in 1917. Rasputin achieved huge power in a very short space of time – but that power lead to Rasputin having many enemies within Russia.
• Rasputin had a major hold over the royal family of Russia because of his ‘power’ to heal the young heir to the throne – Alexis. Alexis was a hemophiliac and any cut to his body was a serious risk to his health. On two occasions, Rasputin is said to have saved the young boy and won the confidence of the Tsarina, Alexandra
• he lived as a peasant and was uneducated.
• in 1901, he left his home in Siberia and wandered. He soon gained a reputation as a man who could heal sick people. He also gained a reputation as a man whose moral behaviour left a lot to be desired. His immoral behaviour shocked people.
• In 1905, he met the tsarina of Russia – Alexandra. She was fascinated by this man who ‘saved’ her son from death and he soon acquired huge influence over the Romanovs. He ensured that his own followers were given powerful positions in the government of Russia despite the fact that they were incompetent at their job.
• his behaviour outraged important noblemen. But his hold over the tsarina was as great as ever. She called him “our friend”. His enemies called him the “Mad Monk”.
• supposedly immune from poison, Rasputin developed a sense of mystery about him. He had “superhuman strength”; he could “drink poison”; he could drink vast quantities of alcohol and never get drunk etc. These may or may not have been true, but none of this was to save him.
In December 1916, he was murdered by those he had angered the most – the nobility. However, the shame he had brought onto the royal family is one of the reasons why they were overthrown in February/March 1917.