''A great many hardships befell me: whenever an error came about, I was always found at fault, even though I was blameless.''
— Grigory, ''Life of a Seasoned Pilgrim [or an Experienced Pilgrim],'' May 1907
On this day in history, Grigory ''Grischa'' Yefimovich (son of Yefim; also sp. Efim) Rasputin-Novyi (Григорий Ефимович Распутин-новый; b. 21 [O.S. 9] January 1869) was brutally assassinated by Prince Felix Yussopov and his accomplices at the Moika Palace in St Petersburg in the early hours of 30 [O.S. 17] December 1916. He was survived by his wifey, Praskovia Fyodorovna Dubrovina Rasputina (1865/6–1936) and their three surviving children: Dmitry Grigorievich (Mitya; 25 October 1895–16 December 1933), Matryona Grigorievna Solovyova (Maria; 26 March 1898–27 September 1977) and Varvara Grigorievna (Varya; 28 November 1900–1925). Though tragically, Dmitry and Varya died terribly young, Dmitry of dysentery after the loss of his wife Feoktista Ivanovna and their daughter Elizaveta to tuberculosis and Varya, supposedly of poison whilst imprisoned by the Bolsheviks. Maria fared better, fleeing the Russian Revolution to Romania by 1920 with her first husband and later to Germany and France. She later immigrated to Miami, Florida in 1940, having a short marriage with her second husband. She passed away at 3458 Larissa Drive, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California. In 1920 and 1922, she gave birth to her daughters Tatyana and Maria, respectively, now deceased. Through them survives Grigroy's great-great grandchildren and other descendants. (The Russian Empire had not adopted the Gregorian [New Style] calendar, which was in the 20th century 13 days behind the West, until the Bolshevick government declared to do so on 31 January 1918, followed the day after by 14 February; Smith.)
Even years after this man's death, many myths still abound (which isn't exactly helped by his daughter, Maria's remaining accounts of him, though I can't not respect her; her writings are intriguing and insightful to how she viewed her father, yet many of her stories are either contradictory or pure fabrication and she had a habit of self-inserting herself into her father's narrative where she most likely had little involvement). Contrary to popular public perception, Grigory was hardly the epitome of evil (who had very little doing in the start of World War I and the fall of Tsarist Russia, which led to his assassination in order to ''save'' the crown in Yussopov's eyes, before the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, but due to the working-class public's strong distaste for the Romanov dynasty, many of Russia's problems were blamed on the muzhik). Though neither was he exactly a saint; he may have been someone who likely intended his best though became wildly misunderstood by the yellow journalism at the time (which still bleeds into some forms of media today). And despite the infamous title, ''Mad Monk,'' the immediate Rasputin family showed no signs of mental illness according to the Investigatory Commission of 1917 (Furhmann 6; Welch 31). On 15 December 1906, Rasputin requested to Tsar Nicholas that he legally change his name to ''Rasputin-Novyi'' (also sp. Novyy or Novykh) meaning ''new'' since six families in his hometown of Pokrovskoye, Siberia also shared this surname as it was not uncommon; traditional Siberian names relate to topography and despite myths that his name means ''debauched'' from the Russian word rasputnik, it likely actually relates to rasputa or ''cross-roads,'' or rasputista, meaning the wet, muddy roads in springtime after the melting of the winter snow (Fuhrmann 42-3; Smith 13-14).
This happens to be one my favourite periods in history (if that isn't obvious) and I certainly can't wait to see what Robert Eggers (of The VVitch fame) does with his miniseries-in-production (which will no doubt kick Leo DiCaprio's version, that hasn't moved anywhere in three years, in the ass). ''To separate Rasputin from his mythology,'' Smith writes,''I came to realize, was to completely misunderstand him'' (7). It's true; 100 years after his passing and many still fail to search for the truth.
Recommended Reading (though not limited to):
Fuhrmann, Joseph T. Rasputin: The Untold Story. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2013. (Contains some slightly outdated info, though it can easily be cross-referenced to more recent research.)
Smith, Douglas. Rasputin. London: Macmillan, 2016. (It's a literal phone book, though is probably one of the most extensive accounts penned so far, so it's all worth it.)
Welch, Frances. Rasputin: A Short Life. Croydon, South London: Short Books, 2014. (If y'all hate reading and want something shorter, this is the go-to as it is more prose-like, though not incredibly reliable at some points as no footnotes are given and her bibliography is relatively lacking; I don't suggest this as a first read for newcomers to Grigory's life, more as a follow-up for comparison.)
Media: German Faber-Castell pastel pencils, graphite, charcoal and highlighter
Time: 3 hours
1 | 2
© 2016 J.D. Night Ghobhadi
All rights reserved.
He was highly intelligent and spiritual, but didn't deny that he had Earthly urges as well, like for drinking and sex. He was pretty complex.