Was Rasputin a mad monk and and did he lead to the fall of the Romanov dynasty?

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (1869 -1918) was not a real monk but a Siberian peasant who gained influence over the Romanov family. Known as "the Mad Monk,"  he was not really a monk but a 'starets' or religious pilgrim who claimed to be able to control the haemophiliac bleeding of the czar's son Alexei.

Rasputin had the reputation of being more a devil than a saint, carousing with prostitutes and going on heavy drinking bouts.  However, if the truth be told, he was a convenient scapegoat to blame for the fall of the Romanov dynasty while Nicholas II's shortcomings were evident, with or without the "help" of Rasputin.

On December 30,1916, Prince Felix Yusupov and the Tsar's cousin, Dmitri Pavlovitch Romanov, murdered Rasputin. The job turned out to be harder than expected. Yusupov invited Rasputin to his palace, saying that his wife needed his services as a healer. Once there, Rasputin was first poisoned, then shot in the chest, back and head. They then beat and bound him, throwing the 'body' into the icy waters of the Neva River. (Actually, he was still alive but then drowned, trying to claw his way through the ice to the surface.)

Ironically, Rasputin had confided the Yusupov earlier that night:
"The aristocrats can't get used to the idea that a humble peasant should be welcome at the Imperial Palace. They are consumed with envy and fury. But I'm not afraid of them. They can't do anything to me. I'm protected against ill fortune. There have been several attempts on my life but the Lord has always frustrated these plots. Disaster will come to anyone who lifts a finger against me."

Within three months (July 16,1918) the Romanov family was assassinated at Ekaterinburg.

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