Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rasputin remains among Russian notables

Figure at right represents Grigori Rasputin in his last hours

Grigori Rasputin — just who was he?

In Russian folklore, he is described as a peasant and a mystical faith healer.

Tableau shows soldiers and officials awaiting word on Rasputin's death

And his is still one of the well known names of the 20th century when it comes to people talking about Russia.

Rasputin was a confidant of Czar Nicholas II, the last monarch of the country.

He became so disliked by the hierarchy during Nicholas II time, that they conspired to have him killed.

And thus, he takes his place at the table at the 
Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, where he was reportedly poisoned. Other versions of the story deny that fact.

Rasputin was invited to the palace on the night of Dec. 16, 1916 on the pretense of a housewarming party for Yusupov’s  wife.

Room in the Yusupov Palace

In the wine cellar, Rasputin reportedly got drunk on wine and was offered arsenic-laced petit fours of which he may or may not have eaten. 

After about an hour, and with Rasputin drunk and still alive, Felix Yusupov went and got a gun and shot Rasputin. But that didn’t kill him. Rasputin managed to exit the building and was then shot once again before he left the property.

His body was carried back inside and when it made a sudden movement, he was shot once again in the forehead.

Yusupov Palace bedroom

The body was subsequently dumped into the Malaya Nevka River where it drifted into an ice mass. It was recovered on the following Monday.

On our recent cruise of the Baltic Sea that included St. Petersburg, the Yusupov Palace was one of the stops on the itinerary. The building exuded the richness of those who were in the hierarchy during those times.

Yusupov Palace sports its own theatre

A tableau shows soldiers and officials awaiting word of Rasputin’s demise.  Another tableau, located down a narrow staircase that leads to the basement, shows Rasputin sitting at a table with soldiers present to assure that he wouldn’t leave the building — at least not alive.

But he did leave alive only to be shot in the back before leaving the property.

Stories throughout the past century have painted him in a number of different ways with questions still unanswered about the reality of his life and his death.

Sculpture of wrestlers located in Yusupov Palace

Our tour guide said Rasputin may not have been as bad a person as others have depicted.

Either way, his name and story are as often repeated along with those who actually ruled the country.

Next post: June 30, 2015

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