Grigori Rasputin 1916
Griogori Rasputin had been portrayed as a sinister man of evil ever since his death in 1916. He was a Russian mystic who proclaimed himself a holy man and somehow managed to get into the favor of the Romanov family. Rasputin was believed to be a healer that was essential for keeping young Alexei alive. The young boy suffered from hemophilia and he was the only heir of Tsar Nicolas. Tsarina Alexandra believed that Rasputin was not only keeping her boy alive but making him strong enough to one day be the ruler.
But not everyone believed that Rasputin had the best interests of the Tsar in mind. When Tsar Nicolas left St. Petersburg in order to personally oversee armies during World War I, he left Russia in the hands of Alexandria and Rasputin. The pair became increasingly unpopular with the Tsar gone. In 1914 a peasant woman attempted to kill Grigori Rasputin by stabbing him in the stomach. Though he was seriously wounded he survived at least until more assassination attempts came in 1916.
A group of nobles led by Prince Yusupov decided to end the life of the healer. On December 30th, 1916, the prince invited Rasputin to his home sometime after midnight and ushered him into the basement. There Rasputin was offered cakes and wine that had been laced with cyanide but the deadly poison had no effect. Realizing the cyanide did not work, Yusupov simply shot Rasputin in the chest and then left him for dead. Later Yusupov returned (after making efforts to ensure he would not be implicated in the murder) only to be attacked by bloody Rasputin.
Yusupov managed to get away and outside as Rasputin followed him. Another of the nobles in the plot saved Yusupov’s life by shooting the mystic yet again. The conspirators then wrapped up the body and tossed it into a nearby river. The body was later recovered and buried by Alexandria but it was dug up after the February Revolution. A group of workers decided to burn the body (as the mystic had a fearsome reputation) and as the body burned Rasputin sat up in the flames, leaving many to believe he had risen again only to be burned alive. Another theory is simply that the tendons were not cut before burning and they simply contracted as they were heating, giving the appearance that Rasputin had once again cheated death.
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