By Tim Lambert

Grigori Rasputin was born in a village in Siberia. We don't know the exact date but it was around 1869. At that time life in Siberia was hard and primitive. It was almost untouched by the Industrial Revolution that was sweeping western Europe. However the Rasputin family were not poor peasants. They were reasonably well off.

Young Grigori Rasputin was supposed to have the power to heal sick animals. In 1889 he married a girl named Praskovya. Rasputin is sometimes called the Mad Monk. In reality he never formally became a monk but he did stay in a monastery for 3 months. Afterwards Rasputin became a wandering holy man called a strannik, living off gifts from peasants. While he was away his wife looked after a farm. However Rasputin did return home for the winters and he had 3 children, a son in 1897 and daughters in 1898 and 1900. All the time Rasputin was gaining a reputation as a healer.

However Rasputin really rose to fame after he moved to St Petersburg in 1903. He first met the royal couple in November 1905. However he did not see them again till October 1906. During 1907 Rasputin continued to visit the palace from time to time. The Tsar had a son, Alexis, who was a hemophiliac (his blood did not clot properly). On one occasion Rasputin was present when Alexis was bleeding. Rasputin is supposed to have healed the child. At any rate the Tsar and Tsarina believed that he did. They were convinced that he was a starets, a Russian holy man.

In the following years Rasputin grew in influence. Then in October 1912 Alexis was seriously ill. The Tsarina sent a telegram to Rasputin. He replied that Alexis would live. They boy did recover increasing the Tsar and Tsarina's faith in Rasputin.

In June 1914 a woman named Khioniya Guseva stabbed Rasputin but failed to kill him. That year the First World War began and Rasputin continued to have great influence over the Tsarina, especially after the Tsar moved near the front to command the Russian army. Inevitably Rasputin made many enemies.

Finally Prince Yusopov decided to murder Rasputin. He was lured to a party early in the morning of 30 December 1916. Yusopov shot him. The murderers then threw the body of Rasputin into a river.

However the police quickly recovered it. Professor Kosorotov performed an autopsy. He found 3 bullet wounds. Rasputin was buried on 3 January 1917.

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