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The true story of The King’s Man

Grigori Rasputin poses on a donkey in a Moscow photo studio around 1910.

The Death of Rasputin

Was Grigori Rasputin really a magical holy man with the ability to heal permanent injuries and wounds of war? Unlikely. But the truth about Rasputin’s life has long been shrouded in rumors, innuendo, and legends, most of which originated with himself. At least it is known that he was born in 1869 as a peasant in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye. His supposed religious conversion did not take place until 1897 during a visit to a monastery, but this “monk” was never a true member of the Russian Orthodox Church. Indeed, as his influence in the imperial court began to grow, the local clergy from his hometown denounced Rasputin as a heretic.

But by that time, the rowdy but charismatic crook had long since succeeded in enticing wealthy nobles in St. Petersburg of his mystical healing powers. It was there that Rasputin first met Tsar Peter Nicholas II in 1905. The Russian Emperor was in a desperate state due to the illness of his son Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia. Rasputin convinced the Tsar and Tsarina of his ability to cure the child’s ailments. He was quickly hired as the royal lamplighter, but soon became a sort of adviser and confidant to the tsar. Some even feared the royal family’s puppeteer.

With his rude behavior and powerful influence on the Emperor, Rasputin became increasingly unpopular at court, especially after the outbreak of World War I. There are some rumors that Rasputin participated in gay or bisexual orgies, but many of these surfaced after his death. During his lifetime, his enemies were known for whispering tales of blanket hedonism, some dubious (that he slept with the Empress and her teenage daughters) and others sadly more true (sexually assaulting and even raping his female followers). .

Consequently several assassinations. The first occurred in 1914, when a peasant woman stabbed Rasputin in the stomach at the likely suggestion of an Orthodox priest. He survived.

The successful assassination turned into a great action sequence The king’s man did not involve British spies or, as far as we know, elaborately choreographed Cossack dance matches. However, not much is known about what was shot on the night of November 12, 1916 other than Rasputin eventually being shot three times (which some historians have suggested) three times, including finally in the forehead, by a conspiracy of conservative Russian nobles became himself gay). These men were determined to sever Rasputin from his hypnotic hold on the Tsar.

butPrince Felix Yusupov, who was behind the assassination, wrote a rather salacious account of the murder in his memoirs, which clearly makes for a great story to this day. According to the prince, they lured Rasputin to a stately holiday dinner and fed him tea and cake laced with cyanide…which did nothing. Then they gave him Madeira wine laced with even more poison…which also didn’t do anything. Eventually the prince left, got a revolver and came down the stairs to shoot Rasputin twice in the chest. Later that night, Rasputin allegedly rose from his apparent death to attack and attempt to strangle the prince, eventually chasing him out into the courtyard where he was shot again, this time in the forehead. Well and dead, Rasputin’s body was carried by the noble conspirators through the snow to a bridge over the Malaya Never River. There they dropped him into the icy water.

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