Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, December 30, 2016

100 Years Ago Today: Do svidanija, Rasputin


Now the dark forces are destroying Russia's last stronghold — the church. A rascal, a khlyst, a dirty illiterate peasant is playing with our churchmen. What abyss are they taking us into? My God! I want to sacrifice myself and kill this vile creature — Rasputin. 
         Vladimir Purishkevich Вefore the Duma 


Apparently Not Everyone in Russia Disliked Rasputin

The elites of Petrograd had had enough. The monk had to die and Gregorii Rasputin was escorted out of the land of the living 100 years ago today. His death was the result of a plot that included the Grand Duke Dimitrii Pavlovich, first cousin of the Tsar, Prince Felix Yusupov, whose wife was the niece of Nicholas II, M. Purishkevich, a monarchist deputy in the Duma (quoted above), and Dr. Lazarevsky, who accompanied him. 

Prince Yusupov, a Key Figure in the Plot
Rasputin went out in a most memorable way, leaving a "tough to kill" legend for the ages behind him. Prince Yusupov had gone to fetch him in his car very late in the evening of the 29th and brought him back to his house. Rasputin went along on the prospect of meeting Yusupov's attractive wife, who was actually safely out of town. The conspirators clearly knew their man; they just didn't understand how difficult he would be to put down. 

They first tried to poison him, but as the poison seemed slow in taking effect, Prince Yusupov shot him with a revolver in a panic. Rasputin fell to the floor. Thinking the monk dead, the assassins adjourned to another room to celebrate over champagne, only to discover when they came back to check the body that Rasputin was still alive. Waking up as he was shook, Rasputin tried to flee. Yusupov and his associates chased Rasputin out into the yard, shooting him several more times and beating him with a rubber club. To ensure he didn't rouse again, the men tied Rasputin in a blanket and dumped his body into a tributary of the freezing Neva river. Despite all the poison and the bullet holes in Rasputin, including one through his forehead, the corner's official cause of death was hypothermia, suggesting he was still alive when he was tossed in the river.

1 comment:

  1. I like Yusopov's dog in the photo. I have had more than several Boston Terriers; his looks like a French Terrier, a cousin breed; so he must have been a good man.

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