On January 21st of 1869, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was born to a peasant family in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye. His destitute parents, Efim Rasputin and Anna Parshukova were simple farmers who had little or nothing to offer Grigori as he grew up. This inevitably led him to a life of crime. He eventually became a no-good drunk, a thief, and even a savage rapist.
In 1886, Rasputin traveled to Abalak where he met a girl named Praskovya Dubrovina. After several months they got married in February of 1887. However, Praskovya remained in Pokrovskoye throughout Rasputin’s travels and remained devoted to him until his death. The couple had seven children, although only three of them survived. Dmitry was born in 1895, Maria in 1898, and Varvara in 1900.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, spiritualism was on the rise in Russia and around the world. As part of this, a mystic named Helena Blavatsky co-founded the Theosophical Society which was a highly esteemed group of occultists. Seances and Ouija boards became all the rage as occultism spread far and wide. That is to say that at the time faith in esoteric traditions became mainstream and Rasputin was more than eager to capitalize on the phenomenon.
In 1897 Rasputin experienced a profound religious conversion after taking a holy pilgrimage to a monastery. After encountering the Khlysty sect of the Russian Orthodox Church Rasputin started to believe that sinning would actually bring him closer to God. He thought that it was possible to purge the soul by indulging in the desires of the flesh, thus giving him something truly worthy of repentance. As such he encouraged people to engage in things like intoxication and fornication, thus leading to drunken orgies even among the aristocracy.
After traveling to Saint Petersburg in 1903 Rasputin began to captivate prominent figures in the Russian Empire with his odd supernatural charm. Bishop Germogen believed Rasputin to be clairvoyant and introduced him to a radical monk named Iliodor. He even met Tsar Nicholas II in November of 1905. Then, near the end of 1906, Rasputin began healing the hemophiliac son of the Tsar and Tsarina. This was really important because Alexei was the only male heir to the throne and Rasputin was the only person in the world who had ever actually succeeded in helping the boy.
In 1912 Tsarina Alexandra and her son Alexei were out horseback riding when the boy suddenly fell and sustained a terrible injury. The Empress then sent a telegram to Rasputin asking him for help. The great mystic responded saying that by the grace of God the boy would indeed be cured. Lo and behold the next day Alexei had fully recovered. So, as far as Alexandra was concerned this was proof positive of Rasputin’s miraculous healing abilities.
Of course, not everyone loved Rasputin, not by a long shot. On July 12th of 1914, a peasant prostitute named Chionya Guseva stabbed him in the stomach outside of his home and ripped out his intestines. She had hoped to kill him but Rasputin was treated in emergency surgery and rushed to the hospital in Tyumen where he made a full recovery. So, the legend of his immortality quickly spread and others soon stepped up to the difficult challenge of ending Rasputin’s life.
Over the course of only two years' time, Rasputin oversaw the appointment of 4 prime ministers, 4 war ministers, and 6 ministers of the interior. So, in having realized that Rasputin’s influence over the Tsar and Tsarina had made him a threat to the Russian Empire, a group of nobles led by Prince Felix Yusupov, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and a man named Vladimir Purishkevich all plotted his demise. It was all part of an assassination attempt in alliance with the British Secret Service, including agents like John Scale.
On December 30th of 1916, Rasputin was invited to Yusupov’s Moika Palace and served cyanide infused wine and cakes, which he did not indulge in. So the men decided to just gun down Rasputin instead. Yusupov shot Rasputin in the chest, below the heart through the stomach and into his liver. Then, Rasputin tried to run but was shot a second time by Purishkevich. This time he was hit in the kidney.
Thinking he was dead, the conspirators wrapped Rasputin in linen and carried him across the courtyard and put him in a car. They drove him to a bridge overlooking the Malaya Nevka River and realized that he was still alive. So a British SIS officer named Oswald Rayner then shot Rasputin in the forehead at point-blank range. Then while still alive Rasputin was thrown into the icy water below where he eventually drowned. This inevitably altered the course of the First World War and changed history forever, ending the monarchy and ushering in the Russian Revolution.