It is difficult to define the figure of Grigori Efimovich Novykh, better known as Rasputin. Was he a holy man, an enlightened man of his time? Or was he just thirsty for power and with delusions of grandeur? Both, perhaps?
Be that as it may, the mysteries surrounding Rasputin are as opaque as his personality. Sometimes branded a charlatan and sometimes a guru, his essence has transcended the legend of time, but how did a humble peasant come to have such an influence on the imperial family?
Grigori Efimovich Novykh was probably born in January 1869, although the timing varies according to the source. His nickname, Rasputin, by which he would go down in history, means 'depraved' and sometimes worked well for him. When he was a child, he was problematic and had a reputation as an alcoholic and a thief.
Growing up, Rasputin became an illiterate peasant who at an early age was interested in religion, and manifests a particular attraction for mystical experiences. Although one of Rasputin's labels is that of a mad monk, he was never ordained by any religious institution.
At the age of 20, he married and had children, but left his family to dedicate himself to religion. Then he traveled to Greece, where he started to acquire his fame as a person of great spiritual relevance, capable of healing the sick and predicting the future.
In 1903 he arrived in St. Petersburg, and his deep, hypnotic gaze helped him achieve a good reputation and some success. In 1905 he met the Russian Czar's family, the Romanovs.
About three years after the first contact with the Russian family, Rasputin is said to earn the favors of the tsars for his healing gifts. The tsar's son had hemophilia (a disorder of blood clotting, though perhaps it was porphyria) and the slightest scratch could be fatal. The best doctors declared themselves impotent, but Rasputin managed to heal him.
How did Rasputin cure the tsar's son? Some point out that through hypnosis; others, that through medical knowledge (knowing that the aspirin given to the young nobleman worsened the bleeding due to its anticoagulant power). By this fact, Tsarina Alexandra considered Rasputin an authentic envoy of God and won full confidence toward him.
Although Rasputin had a reputation for miracles, the truth is that his life was a real feast in which there were orgies and parties, and with his mystical aura managed to seduce any woman who approached him. And although the royal family knew about these customs, they decided to turn a blind eye, because they already trusted him as their healer.
Little by little, rumors about Rasputin's manipulation began to emerge, both in the press, the ministers and the people in general. The close relationship he had with the Romanovs, who were seen as puppets in the hands of the mad healer, was frowned upon. He had such power that he even appointed ministers and had the right to scrutiny in military actions, all of which was supported by some prophecies that he spread and that ended up being true.
One of the prophecies attributed to Rasputin was the one he told the Tsar. 'When the bell tolls three times, it will announce that I have been killed. If I am killed by common men, you and your children will rule Russia for centuries to come; if I am killed by one of your stock, you and your family will be killed by the Russian people. Pray Tsar of Russia. Pray.'
The circumstances of Rasputin's death have a mystical and legendary halo, in keeping with his whole life and enigmatic personality. Some members of the royal family and politics decide to end the life of the healer and set him a trap.
They invited Rasputin to join an evening on December 29, 1916. Awaiting him was a special bottle of wine that contained cyanide, a potent poison. However, it did not affect him. It has also been said that it was a cake containing the poison, not wine.
Since they couldn't kill him by poisoning him, they finally decided to shoot him. Three shots didn't kill him either. Finally, and still struggling to cling to life, he ended up falling into the icy waters of the Neva, where he drowned.
As he predicted, once his body was buried, the Russian revolution began.
We have mentioned that Rasputin had a reputation as a seducer and a womanizer; many point out that the Tsarina Alexandra Romanov was one of his conquests, and that is why he came to hold so much power in the Russian court. It is said that the healer was an authentic sex machine (he lost his virginity at the age of 13), and his legend extends to his intimate parts: Rasputin's penis is famous for being of great size.
It is said that when he was murdered, Rasputin's penis was cut by a servant who discovered the body in the Neva, kept it properly and sold it to Rasputin's daughter.
Since then, Rasputin's penis has been revered as a symbol of virility and fertility, and as if that were not enough, there is more than one penis circulating around the world as a relic. Among other places, Rasputin's penis was exhibited at the Museum of Eroticism in the city of St. Petersburg.
In 2004, however, a book was published that dismantled all the erotic myth surrounding him; an unpublished diary of Tsar Nicholas II's trustworthy person asserted that Rasputin encouraged his legend of a sexual beast in order to hide the fact that he was really an impotent man.
Rasputin was a person to some extent to be feared. However, he is currently painted like a cartoon villain in cinema.
At the end of the 1990s, Anastasia was premiered, a film that tells that Anastasia Romanov did not die in the Russian revolution, but managed to escape. This would be very bad for Rasputin because in the film he casts a spell to kill the Czar's family.
According to history, in reality, Anastasia Romanov and Rasputin had a good relationship, and like her siblings, she saw in him a friend and confidant. However, some scholars point out that Rasputin even had sexual intercourse with Anastasia Romanov as well as her sisters and mother.