Romanov Family - Rasputin's Conquest of the Capital

Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg, 1900

Rasputin began to prepare for his trop to the capital. A place to which his fame had already preceded him. Rasputin appeared in Petersburg in 1903 on the eve of the first Russian revolution. He had set out for Petersburg with a great goal – to solicit money for the building of a church in Prokovskoe (home town). Rasputin fitted well into the capital’s social scene in these months. He meets with numerous Russian representatives of church and other authorities. The word spreads around and he gets a lot of invitations with request for blessing and to give righteous advice. As a rule he accepts everyone.

As it known the times were unstable, severe and dark. Here and there you could hear explosions and gunfire; people were in need of inspiration, hope and emotional support. Many people notice Rasputin’s profound insight and intuition. Just by meeting a person at first, he could accurately characterize him/her. Many were overwhelmed by Rasputin’s subtle psychological awareness, but it doesn’t mean that he was always correct. In fact he was especially mistaken about Yusupov, his future murderer. He treated him like his son, with exceptional warmth and kindness. However as Rasputin used to say, it’s better to be over sighted of someone, rather than thinking badly about him.

There was a renowned belief that women were the vast majority of Rasputin’s social circle. However by exploring deeper into the subject, we find out that woman composed less than half of his social circle (46 percent). Nevertheless, women where his most passionate followers.

Rasputin and his social circle

Father Feofan introduced him to the “Montenegrin sisters,” and they in turn brought him before the royal family. The sisters were quite taken with Gregory. There was fire and conviction in his speech; his grey piercing eyes sparkled. Rasputin claimed he could heal all illness, foretell the future, and charm away unhappiness (He seemed to be the miracle worker their heart were seeking). The sisters promptly brought their tales of Rasputin to Nicholas and Alexandra.

The Imperial Romanov Family

The real reason for Rasputin’s success and gained trust of the Royal family was his miraculous ability to help Alexandra’s son, Alexei, to fight hemophilia (genetic disease characterized by uncontrollable and unstoppable internal bleeding).

Alexei with father Nicholas II

It was then that Rasputin made his first great blunder. By 1910 a very definite circle had formed around him. All this time the newspapers had been blaring about Rasputin. Only the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912, and the drowning of the great vessel’s unlucky passengers in icy water, managed to push aside for a little while news of the peasant in the palace

Rasputin constantly infringed on all codes of social behavior, but never appeared to be acting out of a desire to be clever or provocative. He was his own man and did as he pleased, and that was that. He delighted in every manifestation of his “broad peasant nature,” and one of the most important of there was his passionate love of drink, music, and the dance. He was the kind of Russian who felt, usually after a glass or two, that although he might be having a good time, that good time was still incomplete, too quite and inactive. The supreme good time required music and the controlled release of energy combined with a surrender to ecstasy that could only be found, as Rasputin puts it, by setting off into dance.

Rasputin loved night life, and in the latter years it became his main amusement. Rasputin seemed to be sexually aroused by power, by subjecting women to his will. Although he would sometimes indeed resort to blackmail, or something close to physical force, his strength of character and emotional indifference to the consequences of a rebuff were usually enough. As one observer wrote of his hold over women, shortly after his death: “His strength derived from the power of his personality, and his ability immediately to assume an attitude of the most extreme familiarity towards any person of the opposite sex who came into contact with him.” His Motto was: “Take when they are giving, run when they are beating.”

Rasputin was not wittingly destructive; he simply acted out of unenlightened self-interest, meaning that he never learnt from his experiences, and always retained the horizons of a peasant. That was the fact of his being peasant, his existence close to the throne was unacceptable to so many, which created the sandal. Of course Rasputin was not the first peasant to try to reach the centre. The Russian has known its share of failed peasant rebellions. The failure of these peasant leaders to bring down the tsar has usually been characterized in military terms, by the failure of their armies to reach the capital. Rasputin was no rebel, yet the fact that he reached no just the capital, but the very heart of the empire was enough to ensure that he succeeded where his predecessors had failed.

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