Grigory Yefymovich Rasputin (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Because of his mystic ability to improve the hemophilia of Alexei Nikolayevich, heir to the Russian throne, Rasputin ingratiated himself to Czar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra. Rasputin’s profligate ways and the refusal of the rulers to believe the scandal he consistently generated increased the estrangement between the rulers and their people, thus contributing to the Russian Revolution.
Grigory Yefymovich Rasputin was born in the small Siberian village of Pokrovskoye. The exact date of his birth is unknown, as was true for most peasants at the time, but the most probable date was January 23, 1869 (January 10 on the Julian calendar used in prerevolutionary Russia).
Young Rasputin exhibited a remarkable ability to commune with and heal animals. Although illiterate, he liked to memorize scripture, and at age eighteen, he had a vision of the Virgin Mary. Legend claims that he also possessed gifts of precognition and clairvoyance, but villagers later remembered him primarily for his excessive drinking and proclivity toward sexual depravity. These apparently irreconcilable impressions were indicative of his whole life: Times of prayer and generosity coexisted with epic debauchery. He was variously viewed as a pious holy man and an insatiable satyr.
In 1889 Rasputin married Praskovya Fedorovna Dubrovina, who bore him three children. Rasputin became a farmer, but he...
(The entire section is 2045 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!