Thursday, December 30, 2010
Today marks the anniversary (1916) of the death of Rasputin, the "Mad Monk," a Russian mystic who was confidant and advisor to Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra.
Rasputin was murdered by a group of nobles who saw his influence over the Tsar and Tsaritsa as a dangerous threat to the empire. The legend of that murder is as follows:
The group of would-be assassins lured Rasputin to the palace of one of their members, where they served him cakes and red wine laced with a massive amount of cyanide, enough to kill five men. Rasputin was unaffected.
One of the conspirators then shot Rasputin through the back with a revolver. Rasputin fell, and the company left the palace for a while. When one man came back, Rasputin opened his eyes, grabbed him by the throat and strangled him.
As he made his break, however, the other conspirators arrived and fired at him. After being hit three times in the back, Rasputin fell once more. But he was still alive. The men clubbed him into submission and, after wrapping his body in a sheet, threw him into an icy river, and he finally met his end there—as had both his siblings before him.
Three days later, the body of Rasputin, poisoned, shot four times and badly beaten, was recovered from the Neva River and autopsied. The cause of death was hypothermia. His arms were found in an upright position, as if he had tried to claw his way out from under the ice. In the autopsy, it was found that he had indeed been poisoned, and that the poison alone should have been enough to kill him.
Yet another report, also supporting the idea that he was still alive after submerging through the ice into the Neva River, is that after his body was pulled from the river, water was found in the lungs, showing that he didn't die until he was submerged into the water.
Subsequently, the Empress Alexandra buried Rasputin's body in the grounds of Tsarskoye Selo, but, after the February Revolution, a group of workers from Saint Petersburg uncovered the remains, carried them into a nearby wood and burnt them.