- Word count: 808
- Category: Russian
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Privet·stvie g-zha Kinghorne i drugimi tovarishchami. Segodnya vy uznaete o Rasputine. Greetings Mrs Kinghorne and fellow comrades. Today you will learn about Rasputin. Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was born a peasant in the small village of Pokrovskoye in Siberia in 1869. At age 18 eighteen, Rasputin spent three months in the Verkhoturye Monastery. His experience there turned him towards the life of a religious mystic and wanderer. In 1901, he left his home in Pokrovskoye as a strannik (or pilgrim) and, during the time of his journeying, travelled to Greece and Jerusalem. In 1903 he arrived in Saint Petersburg where he gradually gained a reputation as a starets (or holy man) with healing and prophetic powers. Now, it was not publicly known that the Tsarevich Alexei had haemophilia. When doctors could not help Alexei, the Tsarina looked everywhere for help, ultimately securing the service of the charismatic peasant healer Rasputin in 1905. He was said to possess the ability to heal through prayer and was indeed able to give the boy some relief, in spite of the doctors’ prediction that he would die.
Every time the boy had an injury that caused him internal or external bleeding, the Tsarina called on Rasputin, and the Tsarevich subsequently got better. As a result of this, The Tsar referred to Rasputin as “our friend” and a “holy man”, a sign of the trust that the family had placed in him. Rasputin had a considerable personal and political influence on Alexandra. The Tsar and Tsarina considered him a man of God and a religious prophet. As you can see, he now had remarkably powerful influence for a peasant… the kind of influence that lead to his undoing. Rasputin survived being stabbed in the abdomen by a prostitute – the first murder attempt. However, on December 16, 1916, having decided that Rasputin’s influence over the Tsarina had made him a threat to the empire, a group of nobles led by Prince Felix Yusupov successfully murdered Rasputin – but it wasn’t a clean job. Three days later, Rasputin’s dead body, poisoned, shot four times, and badly beaten, was recovered from the river.
An autopsy established that the cause of death was drowning – he had survived everything else! Contemporary opinions saw Rasputin variously as a saintly mystic, visionary, healer and prophet or, on the contrary, as a depraved religious charlatan. Intentionally or not, Rasputin helped to discredit the tsarist government, leading to the fall of the Romanov dynasty in 1917. Rasputin unintentionally contributed to the distrust of the Tasardom by having public disputes with clergy members, bragging about his ability to influence both the Tsar and Tsarina, and also by his dissolute and very public lifestyle. Nobles in influential positions around the Tsar, as well as some parties of the Duma, clamoured for Rasputin’s removal from the court. But as long as Rasputin continued to heal Alexei, the Tsar was blind to his faults. When Rasputin expressed an interest in going to the front line of World War 1 efforts to bless the troops early in the war, the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Duke Nicholas, promised to hang him if he dared to show up there. Rasputin then claimed that he had a revelation that the Russian armies would not be successful until the Tsar personally took command.
With this, the ill-prepared Tsar Nicholas proceeded to take personal command of the Russian armies. While Tsar Nicholas II was away at the front, Rasputin’s influence over Tsarina Alexandra increased. He soon became her confidant and personal adviser, and also convinced her to fill some governmental offices with his own handpicked candidates. Tsar Nicholas was not fit to be a war commander and Tsarina Alexandra was not fit to rule the state… and the Russians suffered. The already-existing public distrust of the regime (due to high poverty levels and numerous other deep seated problems that the Tsardom did not address) was deepened by the rising costs of war, high casualties, and rumors of corruption and treason. All this formed the climate for the Russian Revolution of 1917.
In my opinion, an overview of the fall of the Romanov Dynasty and Imperial Russia on the whole is not complete without the inclusion of Rasputin. He had personal influence over the royal family in the critical final years before the Revolution, contributing to the diminishing respect of the Tsar from his people. Rasputin is directly responsible for one of the major war time decisions that set the wheels in motion for revolution – that of Tsar Nicholas II taking personal command of the military. All because of one of his “revelations”. Spasibo za vnimanie k moyeĭ rechi , i ya nadyeyus, chto vy vse uznali chto-to zdesʹ segodnya. Thank You for listening to my speech and I hope you have all learned something here today.