Rasputin, the Decadence of the Romanovs

Surely the most enigmatic character of the, already enigmatic, Russia of the early twentieth was Rasputin. Authentic paradigm of his time, and symptom of the disease that dragged a belittling Romanov dynasty, once glorious.

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“Only while I live the dynasty will survive”, these words were pronounced by Grigori Yefimovich, Rasputin, to the tsarina of all the Russias, Alejandra Fiodorovna. Of all the magical abilities that were once attributed to him, or that the Russian people rumored he possessed, it would seem that the gift of premonition would be the best demonstrated.

In February 1917, two months after the death of Rasputin, Tsar Nicholas is forced to abdicate, ending the Romanov dynasty after 300 years in power and beginning the process that same October would end in the USSR.

Known as a mysterious historical figure, the protagonist of a cult song of disco music or perhaps the most terrifying villain of animated film, the fact is that Rasputin is one of those characters who seem to perfectly represent their own time. Its history is that of a decadent Russia that refuses to enter the twentieth century with its neighboring countries.

Humble beginnings

The Extraordinary Commission that studied the last years of the Romanovs was undoubtedly surprised by the origins of Rasputin.

Born 300 kilometers from the Ural mountains, in deep Siberia, his life was not different from that of his parishioners until he was 28 years old. Married and with five children, if anything he stood out for his drunkenness, petty theft and skirmish, with the nickname of rasputa or rasputnik, depraved.

The conversion of Rasputin

He himself recounted how, while he was undaunted by a beating for stealing horses, his enlightenment took place. In the manner of Russian pilgrims, he began to travel the Orthodox shrines of all Russia, reaching Mount Athos in Greece.

He abandoned the drink, the meat and the sweets. But he also alternated with prophets, magicians or santeros, far from orthodoxy, in a rural and superstitious Russia. He knew ascetic sects that preached biblical mysteries, while praising the corporal flogging or inviting sexual orgies followed by repentance.

Russia was mired in a spiritual, social, political and identity crisis. After the defeat against Japan and influenced by extreme poverty, she was willing to give herself to the arms of the person who promised the most.

The Court of Saint Petersburg

The ruling house, the Romanovs, and their head, Nicholas II, were no different from their people. With a weak and sick heir, the Zarevich Alexis, his desperation with not continuing the dynasty pushed them into the arms of a trickster.

Nicholas II was obsessed with having been born the same day as the biblical Job, victim of misfortunes, and believed that he would not be able to reach the 300 years of the Romanovs under Russia. Believing that Rasputin was the reincarnation of a magician who had previously deceived them and seeing him as a messenger from the common people, they soon introduced him to the Court.

But Rasputin was not the magician or the saint they expected, although he seemed to know how to treat Alexis, he soon resumed his past vices. It took an iron control of the political power, getting to get rid of the same cousin of the czar, the Duke Nicolai. He also manipulated the summit of the Russian Orthodox Church, folded to the intentions of Tsar.

His enigmatic look and ascetic aspect did not manage to mask his sexual perversions, rapes or nepotism for a long time. Faced with the continued blindness of the Romanovs, palatial intrigues grew.

The tragic end of Rasputin

“Only while I live the dynasty will survive.”

-Grigori Yefimovich, Rasputin-

The enmity towards the prophet became habitual, it managed to face the Church, the Army, the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. Only the tsarina, and less and less the tsar, protected Rasputin. Accusations began in drunkenness or affine to brothels, which was likely, and concluded in “incarnation of Satan,” certainly unprovable. Even monarchist deputies like Vladimir Purishkievich attacked Rasputin and, by association, the monarch.

On December 17, 1917, Prince Felix Yusupov, Duke Dimitri Pavlovich and others conspired to kill him. In a meeting they tried to poison him with cyanide, to which he survived, shoot him point-blank and throw him into the Neva river.

In his corpse resistance was noted until the end. The gossips and tragedy of the Romanovs accompanied his corpse and his grave, several times desecrated. The final decision was to incinerate him and surrounded by flames and mystery, there are those who saw his inert body levitate.

So united was the Yefimovich family to the tragedy of the Romanovs that, in addition to his fall from grace within a few months of Rasputin’s death, his daughter would finish the job. Maria Yefimovich had the confidence of the family of Nicholas II and used her with her husband to flee with the royal jewels of a family evicted and on the verge of execution.