We all know Russia, the largest country in the world, is presided by President Vladimir Putin. Just like every other country in the world, it was not a born democracy. It was under the monarchy of emperors since 1721 after which it was dissolved following the death of its last emperor and the Revolution of 1917. It is said that the mastermind behind the fall out of an entire empire was a monk named Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin.
Who is Rasputin?
Believe me when I say I came across this name in an Instagram reel audio. If you are in flow with the current pop culture, then you would have heard the song Rasputin by the Majestic. I was intrigued by the name of the song and started searching for the meaning behind and thus accidently discovered about this mystic monk.
Grigori Rasputin was a Russian monk born in a small village in Siberia to a peasant family in Russia during 1869. So how did a nobody from a small village became the prophet and healer to the eyes of Russia? A major change happened when Rasputin had a religious conversion to the Russian Orthodox church, the same religion which captivated the beliefs of the Royal Family of Russia. Some believe that the reason for this change was to flee his village as he was accused of horse theft.
This religious course made him to go on for long pilgrimages and he spent his late 20s wandering from one pilgrimage to another and spreading his charisma on the way. By 1900s, he also had a row of followers.
Acquaintance with the royal family
Word spread about the miraculous monk who healed people and who prophesied the future precisely. This led to his introduction to the higher hierarchies of churches where he befriended Theofan, inspector of the theological seminary, who was well-connected in St. Petersburg society. Gradually, Rasputin gained the trust of the upper echelons and finally met with the tsar, emperor Nicholas II of Russia in 1905.
Nicholas and his wife Alexandra were devoted worshippers of the Orthodox church and hence, trusting Rasputin was not a matter of surprise.
Hemophilia of Alexie
The son of the royal pair and thus the successor of the throne was the young boy Alexie. Unfortunately, Alexie suffered from a blood disease called Hemophilia, which disable the ability to clot blood. The situation in the then Russia was already dangling due to revolts against the monarchy and hence the news that successor to the throne maybe short-lived added fuel to the fire. The king and the queen desperately wanted a cure. That was when luck struck Rasputin. He claimed that he could heal the young prince and instructed the king and the queen to stop the medications prescribed by the doctors. This was the only was to save their son, he had said. Transfixed in the captivity of Rasputin, all medications were stopped and miraculously, Alexie was healed! This confirmed the beliefs of the royal family that Rasputin had magical powers.
Now, luck worked flawlessly here. The condition of haemophilia worsens when blood is thinned. Doctors had prescribed Aspirin, which is a blood thinner. Stopping the dosage of Aspirin can definitely lighten the disease. Thus, Rasputin’s suggestion to stop medications worked like a charm.
The prophecy that led to Rasputin’s death
After this incident, any doubts lingering regarding Rasputin’s power vanished among the royals. Rasputin prophesied that with the death of him, the Empire would fall and that royals would die. This prophecy became very convenient for people who defended the monarchy. Many attempts were made to kill Rasputin.
Yusupov finally managed to kill Rasputin in a fit of rage after a series of his failed poisoning attempts. This created a ripple effect and eventually, one by one, the royal family was killed and Nicholas II became the last emperor of Russia.
And thus came the downfall of Rasputin, who, along with him dragged down the Russian empire.