There was already a sense that Nicholas was weak, that Alexandra was distant and difficult and domineering over her husband. But Rasputin becomes the black mud that gets smeared all over the throne in a way through his closeness to Nicholas and Alexandra. And he becomes the ultimate symbol for the decadence, and sense of foreboding and death that used to hang over the Romanovs.
My opinion of him has changed radically.
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He was a much more benevolent figure and had a much more, in a way, or at least he tried, to have a more positive influence on Nicholas and Alexandra and even on the course of Russian history. One of the little known facts about him is the degree to which he pleaded with Nicholas in summer of not to go to war. If you just take that one moment, had Nicholas listened, he would have changed the course of history.
He always came back to her. I took away from researching and writing, the degree to which the world around him was as corrupt, or more corrupt than him. It has parallels to modern day situations where there is a sense that there are one or two figure who are the root of all the problems. If we can somehow get rid of them, things can be better.
It overlooks all these deep, deep social-economic problems that are much more difficult to solve. I think past biographers have not taken his religious sentiment, his Orthodox faith, sincerely. They believed it was a cover, a ruse to dupe Nicholas and Alexandra.
He truly was a believer, he was committed to the teachings of Christ, and this influenced how he thought about war and bloodshed. And for this he was vilified by conservative, right-wing Russians as a traitor.
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They had tons of stuff on Rasputin from their agents scattered across Europe during the war. What they show is that they were fascinated by Rasputin, but they had no idea whose side he was on.
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Was he on the English side? On the German side, and willing to cooperate? Was he a loyal subject of the czar? There was talk of trying to bribe him.
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There was no link between him, the Kaiser and Berlin. Why such fascination with him, back in the time when he was alive and still now, years later? Much of the fascination has to lie in the sheer unbelievability of his own personal story. Here is a peasant born in a tiny village in a remote part of Siberia, who, by all sorts of strange ways, manages to make it into the imperial palace in St. Petersburg, and be presented to Nicholas and Alexandra. The fate of Rasputin, in this very interesting provocative way, foreshadows the fate of Nicholas and Alexandra and their children, all of them killed in a basement in the middle of the night.
The bodies hurriedly done away with, only to be discovered later. There is an epic quality to the whole story.
Part of the fascination, especially then, was that people were trying to figure out who was this guy. Who was he? How did he get to the throne? How did he come to wield this authority? And what was this authority he had? There was no other way for them to account for it.
What readers also discover in your biography is how open and salacious the Russian press was at the time and how it goes after Rasputin. Some people have this mistaken notion that the czar was so strong that no one could write about Rasputin and then only dared to speak of him in a faint whisper, and even then, carefully looking around their shoulder.
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But it was just the opposite. After the revolution of , there is a granting of civil freedoms, political freedoms—and one of those is a free press. So the press now becomes a weapon to be used against the crown, and they pick up Rasputin as the perfect tool to bludgeon Nicholas with. Why are these newspapers and magazines printing all this stuff about me, my private life and Rasputin? That was one of the tricky things to figure out. You will often read or hear that he was the de facto head of state, that Nicholas and Alexandra were often following his every order.
And I found that that was not at all the case. He was definitely involving himself, often in things he knew nothing about. He even advised during the First World War about what should be done about the fledgling Russian air force. He got in way over his head.
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And Nicholas was the personification of passive-aggressive, I would say. His response was typically to ignore it. It was very rare, almost never, that he would listen to their advice. The intrigue is bizarre and so interesting. I wanted to give you a feel of how morally bankrupt the entire regime was by then. Members of the royal family, advisers and politicians all asked the imperial couple to send him away from their presence, but they refused.
You see in their story with him, Rasputin in embryonic form. Alexandra knew that Nicholas was weak. She knew he lacked a will of his own, a spine. She really thought that they needed somebody who was strong, who could guide Nicholas as he led the country. Nicholas was open to advice and there was this desire to feel that there was some sort of connection between the throne and the masses of society. An autopsy revealed something extraordinary: he had drowned. So after being poisoned, hit by four shots, one of which in the forehead and got beaten, he had managed to remain alive.
It is also said that it was preserved, dry, by a noblewoman.
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But how is it possible, if it had always been kept dried? I on the other hand think that he was just a religious and very charismatic man who believed in the power of prayer and meditation. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Home News Crime tortures murderers serial killers serial killer men serial killer women serial killer kids serial killer couples homicides killer men killer women killer kids killer couples cannibals massacres mysteries paranormal exorcisms ghosts cursed objects cursed dolls cursed movies Aliens prophecies unsolved mysteries mysterious objects mysterious people mysterious places legends strange creatures superstitions Reviews books Other Countries Japan Italy curiosities accidents animal attacks necrophilia Contact us.
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