It is a stretch to say that Rasputin started the Russian Revolution, but he certainly was symbolic of all that was rotten about imperial government under Tsar Nicholas II. By 1916-17, he had a tremendous amount of influence over the tsar through the tsarina, who was convinced he was a holy man with prophetic powers. When Nicholas left St. Petersburg to command the Russian Army on the front, itself a terrible decision, Rasputin's influence only grew, at least in the eyes of the Russian people. As news from the front worsened and the Russian economy grew ever more grim, Rasputin received much of the blame. Fearing that popular perceptions of Rasputin's relationship with the royal family might lead to revolution, a group of nobles led by Felix Yusupov murdered him in late 1916. While Rasputin did not cause the revolution, rumors surrounding him certainly did much to discredit the already unpopular Tsar Nicholas.